Increasing grid reliability, resiliency and safety
How can utility companies provide reliable, resilient and safe access to electricity for its customers? Well, look no further than Noteworthy AI. With its Inspector system, this Connecticut-based tech startup is pioneering smart grid technology.
Noteworthy AI’s impact
Founded in 2020, Noteworthy AI is tackling one what is arguably the greatest challenge facing the electric grid today: severe weather. According to a Climate Central study, weather-related power outages have increased by 67% in the U.S. since 2000. Watching hurricanes decimate the East coast throughout August of 2021, it’s easy to infer this rise in severe weather is here to stay.
How is Noteworthy AI approaching this problem? Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) visualization technology, it is automating equipment inventory and defect detection . By mounting AI-enabled cameras to fleet vehicles, Noteworthy AI allows utilities to capture imagery of overhead infrastructure as employees drive. The startup is transforming “dead-time,” driving to and from locations, into active inspection time with no impact on the crew.
How Noteworthy uses AI to inspect grid equipment
Noteworthy AI’s Inspector solution is made up of two components: Inspector Edge and Inspector Cloud. Inspector Edge, sensor-rich cameras and an attached computing device, collects imagery and analyzes it with AI. It then sends the results of that analysis in real-time to Inspector Cloud, which enables review of the collected imagery, identified defects, geographic coordinates and more.
Noteworthy AI’s Inspector is both secure and cost efficient. Inspector Cloud encrypts critical infrastructure information (CII) (like the images of poles) and protects it from being accessed by outsiders. Unlike the data harvested by Google Maps Platform, utilities OWN the data that Noteworthy AI gathers. Noteworthy AI users are not hampered by restrictions or pay-as-you-go fees. Utilities can access in-depth data as often as they please and cut down on the labor usually required to inventory and inspect each asset in person. These resources can instead be spent on fixing poles faster and keeping customer power on during the most intense storms.
Thus, FORGE introduced Noteworthy AI and Bayard Design in order to streamline the Inspector’s progress from prototype to production. As a serial entrepreneur with plenty of experience getting fledgling startups to market, CEO Chris Ricciuti knows when to utilize outside resources.
Bayard Design, FORGE Partner, acted as a key resource in 3 areas: product development, safety certification, and material sourcing.
“Don’t assume you know everything. Leverage expertise.”
— Chris Ricciuti, CEO and Founder of Noteworthy AI
First, as Ricciuti explained, when dealing with large publicly traded companies, such as utilities, startups cannot walk into pitches with in-progress prototypes. Bayard Design finessed Noteworthy AI’s product to meet scale as well as client needs, finalizing their product design.
Second, the firm addressed ruggedization concerns. Since the Inspector Edge unit is mounted on the exterior of a vehicle, “there are all kinds of concerns if the vehicle gets into an accident. For example, what if our device detaches and strikes someone that’s walking on the side of the road?,” shared Ricciuti. Bayard Design was able to develop hardware that fit ISO standards and ensure safety standards.
Third, collaborating with Bayard Design, Noteworthy AI was able to weather the unexpected supply chain issues incurred by the pandemic. The design firm put together a comprehensive bill of materials and skirted many delays caused by extended lead times and scarce raw materials.
Noteworthy AI is strategizing for its upcoming pilots. After earning a place in IncubateEnergy Labs’ 2021 cohort, the company secured its first pilot with utility leader FirstEnergy. Ricciuti shared that Noteworthy AI is in active discussions with 5 other US-based public utilities, and has international interest as well.
FORGE is beyond proud to have sparked the initial connection between Noteworthy AI and Bayard Design, and cannot wait to see how this startup reimagines the electric grid!