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National Grid sees machine learning as the brains behind the utility business of the future

If the portfolio of a corporate venture capital firm can be taken as a signal for the strategic priorities of their parent companies, then National Grid has high hopes for automation as the future of the utility industry.
The heavy emphasis on automation and machine learning from one of the nation’s largest privately held utilities with a customer base numbering around 20 million people is significant. And a sign of where the industry could be going.
Since its launch, National Grid’s venture firm, National Grid Partners, has invested in 16 startups that featured machine learning at the core of their pitch. Most recently, the company backed AI Dash, which uses machine learning algorithms to analyze satellite images and infer the encroachment of vegetation on National Grid power lines to avoid outages.
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