Press release

eSmart Systems, Xcel Energy and EDM International Announce AI-based Collaborative Intelligence Project to Transform Inspection of Transmission Grid and Asset Management

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eSmart Systems, Xcel Energy and EDM International announce the first phase of a strategic initiative to deploy AI-based Collaborative Intelligence for 3,300 miles of Xcel’s transmission lines to dramatically improve inspection processes with the goals of improving asset information, reducing operational costs, decreasing failure rates, and extending asset life. The Collaborative Intelligence approach will allow Xcel to adopt eSmart’s AI-based analytics into their existing business processes, to analyze imagery data of transmission assets collected by Xcel’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and manned helicopters and validated by EDM’s subject matter experts, to prioritize transmission line operations, identify defects, and update asset information in Xcel’s asset management systems.

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Xcel partners with eSmart Systems to analyze imagery data of transmission assets collected by Xcel’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Photo: Business Wire)

Xcel partners with eSmart Systems to analyze imagery data of transmission assets collected by Xcel’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Photo: Business Wire)

“eSmart Systems is pleased to partner with EDM to bring its Collaborative Intelligence approach to help Xcel Energy use UAS data collected by Phoenix Air Unmanned. We see this project as helping utilities to practically bridge the gap in transition from today’s largely manual processes to the world that leverages digital technology such as AI and UAS images for grid inspection and asset management,” says Knut H. H. Johansen, CEO and founder of eSmart Systems.

“Through this partnership, we will significantly improve the speed, safety, accuracy and cost of power grid inspections and deliver value by updating information on critical infrastructure assets. The utilization of our Collaborative AI enables us to transform today’s inspection practices by delivering enhanced mission critical information with reduced risk,” adds Steve Hambric, President of North America Operations at eSmart Systems.

Collaborative Intelligence

The Collaborative Intelligence approach efficiently and reliably combines the human intelligence of EDM’s T&D subject matter experts with AI-based analytics by eSmart Systems to analyze aerial images captured by Unmanned Aircraft Systems and manned helicopters. This project is seen as a key linchpin transitioning from today’s manual grid inspection practices to a process that uses the optimal combination of humans, AI and aerial images to more efficiently inspect grid systems, reduce failure rates, and extend asset life.

“Xcel Energy’s work on unmanned aircraft systems with our numerous partners demonstrates that collaboration benefits customers, the economy and the environment,” said Kent Larson, Executive Vice President and Group President of Operations for Xcel Energy. “Our company is an industry leader in using UAS technologies for transmission and distribution line inspections. We look forward to working with eSmart Systems and EDM to improve the safety and reliability of the energy grid.”

About the Companies

eSmart Systems

eSmart Systems is a developer of disruptive intelligent analytics targeting utility and energy markets. eSmart Systems, headquartered in Norway, has 80 employees including sales representatives in Denmark, UK, and in the US. The company was established in 2013, has commercial revenues from large and established utilities and transmission & distribution grid operators. Key owners are Kongsberg Digital, Energy Impact Partners, Equinor Energy Ventures, Nysnø Climate Investments, innogy Ventures and several Norwegian utilities.

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Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

EDM International

EDM is an employee-owned alliance of engineers, scientists, technologists and businesspeople providing innovative services and products to the utility industry since 1982. The company has become a leader in utility engineering, operations and asset management by merging excellence in technical disciplines with a genuine concern for client needs. EDM is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado, and has offices in San Diego, California and Billings, Montana and staff in other locations in North America.