What They Do

California startup AiDash uses satellite data and artificial intelligence to help utilities and other core industries keep their assets running. They previously made a name for themselves with an AI and satellite-based Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS)  that streamlined the process of keeping utilities safe from natural disruptions. AiDash IVMS has been successfully deployed at National Grid’s US Electric Distribution business and across 40 other global utilities. Now the company’s turned its attention to helping businesses evaluate their natural capital, biodiversity, carbon sequestration and GHG emissions data to help them efficiently become more environmentally responsible.

What We Do

National Grid Partners (NGP) serves as the eyes and ears of the business, searching for innovations to keep National Grid at the forefront of the energy industry. As the corporate investment and innovation arm of one of the world’s largest investor-owned energy companies, NGP is helping drive the transition to a more digitized, smarter, and renewable energy system. NGP does so by investing and collaborating at the intersection of emerging technology and energy.

How NGP and AiDash Are Helping Businesses Keep Their Environmental Pledges

At the 2021 COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, AiDash launched the Intelligent Sustainability Management System (ISMS), an environmental stewardship product developed with National Grid and NGP’s Innovation team. The tool lets businesses evaluate their biodiversity across National Grid’s UK land holdings and to help make the process substantially easier to quantify.

“Politicians and industry leaders are making statements and agreeing to meeting certain targets by 2030 and 2050, whether it’s reducing GHG gas emission by 50 percent, or improving biodiversity by 10 percent, or doing X by X, right?” said Abhishek Vinod Singh, CEO of AiDash. “To meet these targets, the first step for you is to know where you are today. So, if someone has to do a 10 percent improvement in biodiversity, someone has to measure what their biodiversity is today and take mitigating actions and constantly monitor the improvement to see that, yes, they’re on the right path to meet those numbers. This is the problem we are trying to solve.”

AiDash developed the ISMS alongside National Grid and NGP’s Innovation team to help clients whose infrastructure covers considerable ground. By using satellite and historical data and AI projections, companies can efficiently address their environmental impact and move toward sustainability.

The ISMS represents a natural progression from a previous project between AiDash and NGP, which utilized AI and satellite data to help address vegetation issues that could threaten infrastructure.

“At National Grid, we are committed to improving the Environmental Value across our sites in the UK by at least 10 percent by 2026, from a natural capital and biodiversity baseline,” said Prem Gabbi, Director of UK Land & Property. “It’s a crucial step in helping us achieve our regulatory obligations and enabling us to make our contribution towards addressing the biodiversity crisis and climate change. Collaborating with AiDash’s satellite-powered Intelligent Sustainability Management System could enable us to make environmental surveys and audits, relatively seamless, while saving weeks of manual in the field work. This means we could efficiently leverage repeatable and transparent satellite data to design optimal strategies for enhancing the biodiversity across c.3500 hectares of non-operational National Grid land in the UK and regularly monitor improvements while reallocating internal resources.”

ISMS Use Case

For businesses with power cables, pipelines, and other infrastructure spanning vast distances, the ISMS can replace conventional review, which is comparatively time-consuming and expensive. By not having to send out staff to manually assess their networks, companies using the ISMS can more readily address their sustainability needs.

“For example, let’s say a utility has to lay out new lines from an offshore location to the center of the country,” Singh said. “They’ll do an ecological or environmental survey, which will tell how much damage is likely to happen, how many trees are going to be cut, how the biodiversity is going to get impacted, how carbon absorption is going to get impacted. And then they’ll prepare a mitigating plan on how to reverse that change in the next few years.”

Singh said that this is traditionally a costly and laborious manual exercise, which includes environmentalists and technologists surveying the area in question by helicopter. The ISMS uses satellite data and AI modeling, which results in a significantly less expensive, less time-consuming, and more sustainable process.

“We can see the score in a couple of days, and 10-20 times cheaper,” Singh said. “So we will essentially be disrupting the existing ecologist and environmental survey companies who are charging millions and using primitive technologies and human intervention to solve these problems.” ISMS is already deployed in over 1,000 National Grid UK land sites and over 3,000 U.S. oil well pads for another customer. With upcoming legislations on Environment and Biodiversity in the UK and EU, AiDash is set to expand the offering globally.

What’s Next

Beyond technology that drives satellite-powered vegetation management, AI-enabled field surveying and environmental sustainability management, the company’s recent launch of its London office is an important step in its long-term strategy to expand to more business sectors and data analytics tools. Plans are also in the works for the company to move into other markets like Australia.

In addition, its ISMS technology will be in play to leverage the increasing popularity of ESG reporting on corporate annual reports. The single, unified platform is designed to help businesses measure, enhance, track, report and offset various environmental sustainability metrics for land, air and water.

This year, AiDash is also on target to unveil its Disaster & Disruptions Management System (DDMS). Global utilities and other businesses will be better equipped to manage, prepare and respond to storms, wildfires and other natural disasters from this predictive analytics tool.