Sky-Futures, the drone startup that flies drones around oil rigs and gas pipelines and analyses the captured data to spot problems before they become a problem, has raised an additional $5.7 million. This follows an earlier $3.8 million Series A back in May.Backing comes from Bristow Group, a helicopter service provider to the energy industry who have invested $4.2 million, while existing investor MMC Ventures followed on with $1.5 million in funding.
Operating its drone inspection service in the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa, and working with more than 35 of the biggest oil and gas companies, Sky-Futures is using drones combined with its bespoke software platform to gather various types of data, including high definition video and still imagery. That data is then used to identify potential problems in a rig, specifically related to forecasting erosion, which is a pretty big deal when dealing with oil and gas.
For all the talk of using drones for last mile delivery and the regulatory and technical hurdles that will need to be crossed, London-headquartered Sky-Futures — which also has offices in Houston, Kuala Lumpur, and Aberdeen — is a great example of industrial use of drones that is actually happening now and bringing significant benefits to the industry vertical it’s targeting.
It also plays into a now-familar theme of combining hardware/sensors with a cloud-based platform to process and access the subsequent data captured. Internet of flying things, anybody?