A power outage can result from a combination of a thousand little shifts, whether it is from a storm, an overgrown tree or even a wild animal in the wrong place at the wrong time. Managing a system this vast and with so many variables can be challenging – and that is where Aerotronic comes in to offer new, technology-based solutions.
Aerotronic, a recent graduate of the Techstars Mobility program in Detroit and a member of the PlanetM Landing Zone, uses artificial intelligence, helicopters and drones to offer answers to complicated questions that power companies and other businesses have about their systems, explained Chris Chance, CEO of Aerotronic.
“Power companies have a lot of questions that are hard to answer about the physical world – physical assets out in the field that break, power poles that need maintenance and trees that grow,” Chance said. “They need to know what’s going on out there in the real world in order to answer specific business process questions.”
Aerotronic created an automated solution that effectively digitizes the lines, uses AI and manned helicopters to collect aerial data to analyze them, and a database product that allows the clients a way to crunch the numbers and come up with timely and cost-effective answers, Chance said. It’s a win-win for the power companies and their customers, who get back on line in a quick and seamless manner, thanks in part of Aerotronic’s technology.
Originally founded in Indianapolis, Indiana, Aerotronic set up shop in Detroit to participate in the Techstars Mobility program in late 2018. That opportunity – “We felt so lucky,” Chance said, to participate – proved instrumental in helping the startup expand its offerings, find mentors, and develop relationships with local clients, Chance said.
Through Techstars and its business-friendly organizers, Chance and his team got to know the PlanetM Landing Zone and its cohorts. Finding a place within the “tight ecosystem” in Michigan felt essential to Aerotronic’s growth and development, he added.
“Getting in the door here puts you in a good place with investors, customers, mentors as well as access to testing facilities and more,” Chance said. “Anything we need, we can get it in Michigan easily… Everybody knows everybody.”
Chance said he and his team feel confident that Aerotronic will continue to grow as the company continues to work at the PlanetM Landing Zone, while introducing its services to businesses around the Midwest.
“Our company is unique because we design and manufacture drones, algorithms and reports that are unique to each customer – we design the whole process from A to Z,” Chance said.
For Aerotronic, the evolution it has experienced in Metro Detroit has been huge both in terms of company development but also seeing its potential long term.
“[Being in Michigan] will allow us to scale faster and be more in tune with what our clients want,” which is key to unlocking new technologies and answers for this and other industries, Chance said.