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Company uses AI to spot defects in pipes


Aerial view of a wastewater treatment facility with large, open channels and multiple pipelines running parallel to each other. The area is surrounded by green grass and trees, with construction equipment and workers visible. The infrastructure appears old and in need of repair, reflecting the challenges faced by outdated systems in handling increased water flow.

Climate change is increasing the risk and frequency of sewage system failures due to more common floods that overwhelm wastewater treatment systems. This problem is worsened by America's outdated infrastructure. The EPA estimates that nearly $700 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to maintain wastewater and stormwater pipelines.


Matthew Rosenthal and Billy Gilmartin, veterans from the wastewater industry, saw a tech-based solution. They co-founded SewerAI five years ago, a company using AI to streamline sewer inspections by automating data capture and defect tagging.


“Much of our infrastructure was built post-WW2 and is now failing frequently, leading to higher costs,” Rosenthal told TechCrunch. “SewerAI offers an AI-driven software-as-a-service platform to revolutionize infrastructure inspection and management.”


SewerAI started as Rosenthal’s side project, combining his experience from two wastewater firms and his AI studies. He recruited Gilmartin, who worked in sewer inspections, to help develop AI models that predict sewer defects from inspection videos.


SewerAI’s clients include municipalities, utilities, and private contractors. They offer cloud-based, AI-powered tools like Pioneer, which helps field inspectors upload and tag sewer inspection data. Another tool, AutoCode, automatically tags inspections and creates 3D models from video footage.


Many other companies, like Subterra and Clear Object, also use AI for pipe inspections. However, Rosenthal claims SewerAI stands out due to its high-quality training data, with footage of 135 million feet of pipes.


SewerAI’s technology allows for more inspections per day at lower costs, attracting investors like Innovius Capital, who have contributed to the company’s $25 million total fundraising. The funds will support market expansion, AI model training, hiring, and new product development.


“We’re seeing increased demand for our platform as it helps clients do more within their budgets,” said Rosenthal, noting the company’s growth and its first seven-figure contracts. Source: TechCrunch

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