SenseHawk: Power of Data Realized

Swarup Mavanoor, CEO & Co-Founder

Renewable energy has been an important component of India’s energy planning. The importance of renewable energy sources in the transition to a sustainable energy base was recognized in the early 1970s. As more countries establish gigawatt-scale markets for renewables, India has not been behind. Infact, India has emerged a global leader in the development of new assets. All this development,however, has come with increasing competition and downward pressure on tariffs. Solar tariffs reached a record low of Rupees 2.44 per unit at an auction held by Solar Energy Corporation of India(SECI) for 500 MW of projects at the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan in May 2017. Increasing project sizes and the management of a large fleet of assets is another problem that developers and asset owners grapple with in the present scenario. With such persistent challenges in the present dynamic technology world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the solar sector is the latest to embrace the value of data. Data tools-algorithms, machine learning, sensors - have found their way in the industry and through the most unforeseen technology-Drones. UAV based data combined with advanced ML based analytics presents unique opportunity for solar developers to better manage complexity.

California based SenseHawk, with Indian headquarters in Mumbai, is building a suite of SaaS tools that apply sensing and analytics technologies to streamline processes across the life-cycle of infrastructure assets. The company has successfully developed solutions that work with the latest data acquisition tools including UAVs, IoT enabled devices and SCADA systems to provide timely and super accurate information. SenseHawk’s specialized solutions assist asset owners, designers and engineers, across all stages of the asset life cycle starting with design and development, construction monitoring, all the way to operations and maintenance. With its Unity suite, SenseHawk is working towards ‘Digitizing’ the global solar industry.

"SenseHawk aims to digitize infrastructure asset industries with the creation of a scalable AI -driven Platform that combines sensor data and expert knowledge to deliver insights to users"

The Unity Suite
Rahul and Swarup founded SenseHawk to solve real life problems they faced in managing a large asset portfolio, while they worked together at one of the world’s largest vertically integrated renewables enterprises. The use of multiple software tools, data in emails/spreadsheets, and data siloed in peoples ‘brains’ were, according to them, a key efficiency and ROI drain. Uniting these disparate streams of information, analysis and decision making; in their view; was an answer to this problem. The SenseHawk Unity suite is conceived to be exactly this - A collection of modules that automate processes and streamline information flow across asset life-cycles. Built on top of an intelligent core called Hawk. AI, the system is architected to learn, adapt, and deliver more value each time it is used.

On offer today, are three modules that were built specifically to take advantage of rich data acquired by drones. Recognizing that drones were here to change the way assets are managed, the engineering team at SenseHawk set out to build tools that help users work with drone data.

SenseHawk's solutions include multiple components - 'Link' which is a fully automated drone flight control app that enables users to easily collect data and is integrated seamlessly with Unity front end which is the UI to the suite. All this is run in a pre-programmed pattern using the Artificial Intelligence Engine Hawk.AI that helps generate insights for effective decision making. SenseHawk assists asset owners, developers and EPC contractors with their workflows in the three stages of plant lifecycle: design and development construction, operations and management.

Design and Development: UNITY TERRA
Terra is a collection of Geo processing tools that enable asset developers and investors to quickly examine land/alignment choices for construction
of assets and assess suitability of various technology choices. The module includes most basic topography functions such as terrain modeling, ortho imaging, classification, hydrology analysis and basic end system/asset layout and design. The module also includes a scenario builder that enables users to simulate various configurations and determine ROI. The scenario builder for solar applications,for eg.,enables designers to quickly iterate through multiple site configurations and layout options to identify the best configuration for a given site. Besides, the Terra module is also applicable to preconstruction service for roads, transmission lines, real estate or even basic volume and coal stock pile monitoring. The coal mining industry finds Terra to be very useful in measuring humongous volumes of coal lying in their stock piles. The module’s advanced Hydrology features make it easy to assess hydrology, estimate waterflow and design drains.

All said and done, implementation of such high end technology for power generation usually comes along with ‘Ifs’ and ‘Hows’. This obviously makes the 4th Industrial Revolution Tools, a far-fetched utility. Reason for low level of adoption are the cumbersome process of data collection to key metrics reporting, limited automation of processes for generating & reporting metrics of importance for key decision makers, and the lack of appropriate software & tools to capture data and create historical repositories, especially for the development and construction stages of the lifecycle. The Unity platform serves right to throw light on the immense possibilities of AI & ML tools.

"Sensehawk assists asset owners, developers and epc contractors with their workflows in the three stages of plant lifecycle: design and development, construction, operations and management"

Testimonials to Expertise
SenseHawk has time & again proved their expertise and domain knowhow, through several ventures and accomplishments. For example, in the pre-bid design stage SenseHawk assessed terrain details for a 250 MW project before bid submission to optimize the choice of technology (tracker vs FT), and accurately estimate BOS costs. Link, the flight control application enabled UAVs to collect photogrammetry data which was further processed and analyzed using SenseHawk’s fully automated cloud based platform. In order to enable accurate plant design, SenseHawk generated outputs including DSM, DTM, Orthographic images, AutoCAD, 3DPoint Cloud, Slope Analysis and Rainfall Analysis.

Further showcasing their ingenuity with regards to construction monitoring, among the projects SenseHawk has delivered, one was for a developer who wanted to monitor construction of a 400MW solar park project with a strict Time line. Since the developer had recruited multiple EPC contractors to ensure fast construction, progress monitoring, data reliability, and performance management, it turned out to be chaotic. To resolve this, the construction site was made UAV ready for data collection and SenseHawk trained the developer team to collect data using the Link application. Their Cloud Processing Platform and Hawk.AI were able to turnaround 100MW scan and progress reports in 24hours with 99.99 percent reporting accuracy.

Rahul Sankhe, President & Co-Founder

In the process of writing such grand success stories, SenseHawk was able to on board some of the largest clients along the way in the renewable, infrastructure and EPC industry like - SB Energy, sembcorp, L&T Power, Adani and Acme. SenseHawk aims to digitize infrastructure asset industries with the creation of a scalable AI-driven platform that combines sensor data and expert knowledge to deliver insights to users. “With large investments into new infrastructure and strong downward pressure on investment returns, combating process inefficiency with new sensing technologies and intelligent software has become a critical requirement. And, we are here to address this requirement with an initial focus on the solar industry”, says Rahul.