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Strayos AI transforms jobsite insights, improves safety, efficiency, and productivity

Ravi Sahu, Founder and CEO of Strayos, was not initially intending to start a company.

Sahu worked for over a decade at enterprise-level organizations in various leadership roles and completed an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis 2014 before starting Strayos in 2016.

He had experience managing programs using sensor data to build and scale technology in the telecom and manufacturing industry, but he was particularly intrigued by problems he recognized in the mining and drilling industry. He began using imaging data to build AI models to capture data as a side project during his MBA program.

Sahu recognized the gaps around mining analytics and enterprise workflows and believed he could develop a solution to meet the need. He took a three-day crash course in mining at the University of Missouri School of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri to learn more about drilling and blasting operations and material production. It was there that his advisor, Greg Shapiro, connected him to a professor who mentored Sahu and provided valuable insights about the industry.

Ravi Sahu, Founder of Strayos

“What I learned from confirmed for me that the gaps I saw were real, and the more I learned, the more I became excited about building a solution to address the problems. It became evident through my industry research and talking with potential customers that better solutions were needed to optimize operations,” said Sahu.

Traditionally, site inspections and surveys have depended on drillers having to set up laser scanners that collect data every four to five hours; it can take another 10 hours to process the data. The Strayos technology can reduce the time from roughly 24 hours of processing down to 30 minutes.

“We don’t build the drones – we build the analytics. We are enabling autonomous drones without putting a person on the site. This enhances both speed and safety because it avoids unstable slopes and inclines. Mining is a constant moving factory. It’s not always possible for a site worker to get close enough to collect data with a scanner, without pausing the entire operation. It’s not necessary to stop operations with our solution.”

The Strayos platform provides aerial image processing and analytics using geology and geometry data collected via customers’ autonomous drones. The platform can generate a complete model of the terrain in 30 minutes, giving drillers and miners much greater precision as they plan and execute drilling and blasting operations.

Sahu explained, “Site managers are deciding every day where and how many holes to drill, as well as how deep they should be. This is an intensive process. These decisions require extensive data, and our platform is designed to provide insights they need to optimize operations and performance and reduce cost.”

The drone camera collects images and integrates with the drone’s sensors to provide a comprehensive site profile, including geolocation, hardness, and density of the rock, for example, that Strayos uses to generate a 3D model. This real-time data enables drillers to stop, move, adjust drill pressure, and make a multitude of other decisions.

“We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our use cases,” said Sahu. “We’re looking at expansion into the infrastructure and construction industry using current AI models to detect utility lines in the mining and construction site during the excavation phase. In addition, we are working to optimize the transportation from the mine to the processing plant.”

Loads can be very heavy as transported materials could be anything from rock to granite, limestone, metals, diamonds, or coal. Strayos’ analytics can help optimize routes by detecting road conditions that may be influenced by grading, weather, and construction, for example.   Such data insights would provide better decisions around load weights, route times, and fuel efficiency.

Since its founding, Strayos, a team of 13, has scaled to 45 enterprise customers in 8 different countries, with 280 mining sites using the Strayos products daily. Strayos has customers in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Chile, Mexico, India.   “Our Goal is to expand our product engineering, machine learning, and sales teams in St. Louis.

Sahu praised the St. Louis startup ecosystem for helping boost the success of Strayos. “We’ve seen many benefits of building Strayos in St. Louis, including great support and integration into the startup community.   We were able to kick up curiosity and interest in our company as a 2017 Arch Grant recipient, and that really was instrumental in moving us forward.”

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