She said competitive pressures would prompt traditional utilities to embrace an energy sharing approach.
The panel discussion also looked at how drones are being deployed in industries including energy, transportation and construction, conducting detailed, high-resolution inspections of assets including smokestacks, power lines, train tracks and pipelines.
This application minimizes risk and increases efficiency of work that has traditionally been difficult, time consuming and dangerous, said Michael Huerta, Senior Advisor at Macquarie Capital and former FAA Administrator. According to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration statistics for the 2016 calendar year, 384 out of 991 total deaths in construction were fall-related, the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Using autonomous, data-enabled drones to get to hard to reach spots could help reduce this number.
Huerta said another encouraging development was the more collaborative approach being applied to drone regulation, which is promising given regulation has typically moved at a more cautious pace.
"One of the most exciting things we’re seeing is that regulators are working with industry leaders and start-ups to encourage experimentation and build consensus," he said. "Eventually, we hope a new - more flexible - regulatory framework will emerge from this collaboration."
Macquarie Capital Venture Studio: a platform for the InfraTech revolution
The Macquarie Capital Venture Studio will provide nine technology companies selected access to Macquarie Capital’s global financial network and industry knowledge, along with support from R/GA’s creative capabilities. To date, more than 600 emerging technology companies have been considered for inclusion in the program.
The platform seeks to identify and support emerging technologies in three key areas:
- inspect, detect and protect, encompassing drones, sensors, the Internet of Things, preventive maintenance and computer vision;
- distributed energy resources, from electric vehicles to Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems, energy storage, thermal batteries, and solar and wind technologies; and
- productivity and automation, including augmented and virtual reality, logistics platforms, artificial intelligence and machine learning, autonomous vehicles and robotics.
The Macquarie Capital Venture Studio is a platform designed to promote innovation in InfraTech. The Studio collaborates with companies that have the potential to accelerate industries including utilities, transportation and environmental services. For more information or to apply, visit www.macquarie.com/mcvs.