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Ondas Holdings, a provider of private wireless data, drone and automated data solutions, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ardenna, a provider of image processing and machine learning software solutions for rail infrastructure monitoring and inspections. The acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.
Ondas Holdings in 2021 acquired RBR50 company American Robotics, which last year became the first company approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate fully autonomous drones without visual observers on-site. Ondas said American Robotics will leverage Ardenna’s Rail-Inspector advanced analytics software to accelerate growth within the rail industry.
“American Robotics is thrilled to join forces with Ardenna, a leading provider of rail-focused machine learning and SaaS software,” said Reese Mozer, CEO and co-founder of American Robotics. “Together, we can offer the end-to-end data solution that the rail industry has been waiting for, enabling new efficiencies and increased safety.”
Ondas said with the acquisition of Ardenna, American Robotics will begin to work with major rail industry companies, including Ardenna’s current customers, which are amongst the largest freight railroad networks in North America.
“The pieces that are needed to create an industrial data solution for analyzing rail infrastructure are coming together,” added Eric Brock, chairman and CEO of Ondas. “We believe the acquisition of Ardenna will provide the rail industry with a solution that combines drones, automation, communications, AI, and industry-specific expertise to significantly enhance operations and safety.”
Autonomous drones can lower costs and improve overall performance and safety of railways. Whether they are used to inspect railway lines or other vital aspects of rail infrastructure, autonomous drones allow companies to inspect railways more frequently, collecting the data needed to improve safety, decrease costs, and enhance performance.
“American Robotics’ drone platform, combined with Ardenna’s state of the art technology, provides a comprehensive solution to properly deliver and scale analytics technology to rail customers,” said David Gingras, president of Bihrle Applied Research, parent company of Ardenna. “Our team is excited that this technology, developed by Bihrle Applied Research, combined with American Robotics’ industry-leading autonomous drone solution, will provide value and increased safety to the rail industry.”
American Robotics was the first resident of MassRobotics, the Boston-based non-profit organization serving as the innovation hub for robotics and connected devices. Its Scout drone system is designed for data gathering applications in industrial, agricultural and governmental settings. Scout consists of a fully autonomous drone with imaging payloads, a base station for housing, charging, data processing, and cloud transfer, and an analytics and front-end software package.
Mozer joined The Robot Report Podcast in January 2021 to discuss what the landmark FAA approval means for the commercial drone industry. You can listen to that interview below.