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Global climate change is driving unprecedented technological growth for disasters of all types. For instance, better weather and reporting systems have improved the ability to track disasters with increasingly precise detail. Meanwhile, improvements to IoT tools help enterprises and governments pinpoint and triage damage.
AiDash has launched the Disaster and Disruption Management System (DDMS), a satellite and AI-powered software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that connects the dots between weather forecasts, highly accurate disaster models and precise asset data. The service constructs a digital twin for predicting and responding to the anticipated impact before, during and after a significant disaster or extreme weather event.
The new DDMS offering complements the company’s other routine vegetation management service already deployed by 55 utilities on more than 500,000 miles of power lines. Competitors include traditional software vendors like IBM and satellite analytics companies like Kayrros. AiDash’s CEO, Abhishek Singh said satellite and weather data competitors tend to focus on the weather as a technology problem. In contrast, AiDash has extended its existing vegetation management domain expertise into disaster management.
“Vegetation is one of the biggest factors in determining the potential damages,” Singh said.
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An expensive problem
The U.S. experienced more than 15 weather or climate disaster events with damages exceeding $1 billion in 2021, according to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, for a total of about $150 billion. It was the third most expensive year on record, eclipsed by 2005 with about $250 billion and 2017 with $354 billion in damages.
AiDash believes that improvements in satellite data coupled with AI models could help firms prioritize weather hardening efforts to minimize the impacts of disasters. In early deployments, DDMS predicted the severity of storms and their specific impacts with more than 85% accuracy — the company claims — helping even the most experienced managers respond more quickly and accurately.
In some cases, such as the case of wildfires sparked by temperature spikes, these models could automate adjustments to reduce the risks of the disaster in the first place. Predictions are made every two weeks, using a system-wide satellite scan and real-time weather data to create a wildfire risk map in a defined territory. “Utilities and other companies can, in real-time, undertake their wildfire resiliency management activities, based on these real-time predictions,” Singh said.
Eyes in the sky
The new tool takes advantage of improvements in satellite tech that increase the resolution and capability of satellites. For example, multispectral satellites can help distinguish dry forests from wetter ones that are more susceptible to fires. Newer synthetic aperture radar can increase visibility into the movements of storms, tornados and tidal surges.
Combined with carefully prepared AI, this technology now makes it possible to predict damage from extreme events to allow preparation and resource placement, evaluate the damage to understand what restoration is needed and which sites are accessible and help plan the restoration itself.
For example, before the event, the system will help utilities and cities predict areas where they can expect damage, the possible extent of that damage, how many resources will be required for the event and how many lives could be impacted. DDMS will tell them about the critical areas in their network that they can still harden to reduce the storm’s impact.
The system offers ongoing predictions of flooding, damages and accessibility during the event. After the event, precise assessments help utilities and cities plan and perform restoration work and measure and quantify the extent of actual damage using satellite tech and AI. Singh said a state as large as Texas could be surveyed in hours rather than days or months.
AiDash’s total funding to date is $33 million. G2 Venture Partners (G2VP) led the latest series B round and was joined by Shell Ventures, Edison International and existing Series A investors Benhamou Global Ventures and National Grid Partners.
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