KVS Technologies signs US$60 million strategic agreement with US-based Spright to deliver linear infrastructure drone inspection services in North America

by | Sep 17, 2021

DENVER, – KVS Technologies, leading provider of end-to-end drone inspection services for utility companies, has entered a strategic agreement with Spright, Air Methods‘ new drone division. Under this agreement, KVS Technologies will launch its services in North America, with Spright exclusively operating all flights for linear infrastructure inspection. This partnership brings together two key players within drone technology and commercial flight operations, with a view to gaining a leading position in the US linear infrastructure inspection market.

The power grid is the world’s most important infrastructure, but it is ageing and vulnerable with a large portion in use longer than anticipated.  At the same time, increasing electrification is placing enormous demands on these assets. Upgrading the U.S. electrical infrastructure would take decades, while the cost of replacing it is prohibitive. To meet demand with existing resources, utility companies must boost electrical output from their existing grid, while increasing uptime. Traditional methods for inspection, maintenance and repair include the use of low-flying helicopters or having line men work manually on the ground, which are neither efficient nor ideal for health, safety and the environment.

KVS Technologies has developed and commercialized a one-stop-shop answer to help utility companies meet many of the demands of electrification, as well as increase their grid capacity. It comprises a fit-for-purpose unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the Explorer E30, which is built to perform large-scale aerial inspections autonomously with zero emissions. The solution includes Fleet Management, a software suite for flight operations, and Grid Analytics, a software for visualization and data analysis. The KVS Technologies solution is designed to help utility companies find faults and respond to them faster, while providing a smarter, greener, and safer way to monitor and maintain the conditions of the power infrastructure.

At present, KVS Technologies serves more than 10 percent of Norway’s utility companies and has conducted more than 3,000 beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) power grid inspections in Europe. This agreement with Spright, a division of Air Methods, the largest and most experienced Part 135 operator in the United States, means that it will now be able to expand and scale its operations in North America. The potential for growth is significant; the United States has around 3.1 million miles of power lines in comparison to Norway’s 62,000 miles. The Part 135 certificate makes it possible to conduct BVLOS drone flights without exemption, in full accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

“We are thrilled to have found a partner in Spright, who shares our drive to create a safer and better future for people everywhere,” says Cato Vevatne, co-founder and CEO of KVS Technologies. “Our customers in Europe have seen how using our unmanned systems for large scale power grid inspection has significant operational and environmental benefits, and through Air Methods we will now be able to offer our unique solution in North America.”  

“Spright was created to help solve many of the toughest challenges facing communities across North America,” said Joe Resnik, president of Spright. “Current infrastructure challenges require innovation and technology to find more effective and efficient solutions. This is where our work with KVS Technologies will make a difference. Leveraging emerging technologies, we will be able to more rapidly solve many infrastructure challenges in a more responsible manner, with a clear focus on safety.”

About Spright

Spright is the drone division of Air Methods, created to help solve for many of the toughest challenges facing communities across North America. This innovative, drone-based solution is tasked with leveraging emerging aeronautical technology to create operational solutions that can be implemented locally. Based in Gilbert, AZ, Spright as a stand-alone Part 135 Operator with a leadership team that touts more than 70 years of aviation operational experience.

About Air Methods

Air Methods (airmethods.com) is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

About KVS Technologies

Founded in 2015, KVS Technologies provides utilities with end-to-end solutions for inspection and digitalization of critical infrastructure. The company leverages its state-of-the-art unmanned systems and analytics software, providing customers with a digital twin of their entire infrastructure. By helping them work in a smarter, greener, and safer way, KVS Technologies ensures a steady and reliable supply of electricity to millions of people. For more information, please visit kvstech.no.


May Issue 2024