Asterra’s algorithm uncover Underground Lithium, using images from SAR satellites

Tel-Aviv based ASTERRA officially announced today (Mon) that its developments have led to the discovery of lithium, one of the sought-after resources in short supply at the current time. The company also announced that it has registered a patent for the new use of technology and states that the technology is expected to allow it to find additional reservoirs worldwide,  alongside the continued development of the company’s existing capabilities in finding water reservoirs. 

The core technology based on ASTERRA’s solution uses advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence to decode satellites’ synthetic radar (SAR) data using a unique ground-penetrating  frequency. The technology was first applied to the search for underground water on Mars and  other planets during the geophysics studies of founder Lauren Guy. Since 2015, ASTERRA  technology has been used in over 70 countries. 

Under Lauren’s management, Asterra launched its CTO office at the beginning of 2022, aiming to expand the technology’s uses to additional verticals and find other natural resources under  the ground. In light of the expected colossal shortage and the increasing demand for lithium, mainly due to the increase in demand for electric vehicles, semiconductors, chips, cell phones,  and practically in almost every industry where a battery is used, it was decided to focus on this precious metal. 

After examining satellite signals to identify the presence and concentrations of lithium underground at different levels and a test done in the field by several specializing companies, the  findings were confirmed. The results were of significant value and indicate a global breakthrough. 

Lauren Guy, founder and CTO of ASTERRA: “The wonder metal is at the heart of the global desire  to switch to electric vehicales, but the demand significantly exceeds the supply, which causes an almost 500% increase in lithium prices and harms the effort to stop global warming. The global  demand for lithium is insatiable, the supply crisis is present and significant, and the estimates are that it will increase much more in the next 10-20 years. We at ASTERRA are proud to lead the  space-tech industry in Israel, feel that this is just the beginning, and believe that with this  technology, we can all better understand humanity’s signature on the planet.” 

Lithium, silver-white metal and the third largest element after hydrogen and helium, is in the  midst of an unprecedented boom in terms of demand. Therefore, it is not surprising that lithium prices have increased 13 times over the past two years, and in March of this year, its price reached an all-time high of $77,000 per ton. 

Elly Peretz, CEO of ASTERRA: “This is another proof that Israeli initiative and knowledge are at the forefront of the fight against the climate crisis. Congratulations to the staff and management for this significant scientific discovery. I am proud to lead a company that stands at the forefront of the uncompromising fight for a better future for us, our children, and future generations”. 

ELTA Revealed SAR-based Counter-IED/Mine Suite

Recognizing that no single sensor can provide adequate and accurate detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and Mines, IAI has developed an integrated Counter-IED and Counter Mine protection system that is said to reliably detect surface and underground IEDs, mines, and roadside bombs. Based on IAI’s ELTA new SAR radar, the Counter-IED and Counter Mine Suite (CIMS) ELI-3375, employs Surface IEDs Detection Radar, GigaPix Optical Detection System and IR-based underground Mine and IED Detection System.

ELTA has disclosed that the suite can detect Disguised IEDs and Mines and to provide 270˚ early warning coverage of the combat platform (manned or unmanned). It also provides automatic cueing of the investigating sensors and Clean Route recordings of obstacles, IEDs and mines. There is an option to equip the system with countering techniques and hard kill systems tailored according to the specific needs.

The new system belongs to a new genetration of small and mobile Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) produced by ELTA Systems. Earlier this week it announced another lightweight SAR codenamed ELM-2054, for use in Small Tactical UAVs (STUAV), tactical VTOL UAVs, ultra-light reconnaissance aircraft, aerostats, and other compact airborne platforms.

The ELM-2054 reaches a range of up to 20KMs with a weights of only 8kgs-10kgs, in a power envelope of less than 200 Watt and 28 Vdc. It provides SAR Strip area collection rate of up to 750 km2/hour and performs onboard processing of SAR images enabling low downlink data rates. Main missions include Surveillance, Damage Assessment, Anti-terror warfare, Counter narcotics and smuggling prevention, Monitor disaster areas and Maritime missions.

IAI and HENSOLDT Cooperation on Ballistic Missile Defense

ELTA is the radar division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). As such, it also responsible for the development of the powerful radar of Israel’s Ballistic Missile Defence Systems. Last month IAI announced a cooperation agreement with HENSOLDT to supply new radars to the German Armed Forces to modernise their airspace surveillance and build up Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capabilities.

The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment has placed an order for the delivery and installation of four long-range radars worth approximately 200 million euros. For this purpose, Hensoldt has entered into a cooperation in the field of BMD-capable long-range radars with ELTA. Headquartered in Taufkirchen near Munich, Germany, HENSOLDT develops sensor solutions for defense and security applications. With approximately 5,600 employees, HENSOLDT generated revenues of 1.2 billion euros in 2020.

Utilis secures $6m from Beringea to harness satellites to protect global

Utilis, a pioneer of satellite-based infrastructure intelligence, has today announced that it has raised $6m from Beringea, the transatlantic venture capital firm. The funding will be used to accelerate the growth of its data-driven analytics which enables detection of water leaks and infrastructure asset management, reflecting the rising focus on resource preservation around the world during the climate crisis.

Utilis was founded in 2013 by Lauren Guy, a scientist focused on atmospheric physics and dynamics studying the ability of space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to detect underground water on Mars. The patented algorithm developed through this research has underpinned the development of the Utilis solution, harnessing satellites to spot underground leaks in water supplies around the world. Utilis today has 40 employees across its offices in the USA, Israel, and the UK, led by Elly Perets, an experienced software entrepreneur, as CEO.

Utilis has scaled to apply its pioneering leak detection product to more than 400 projects worldwide, spanning more than 55 countries including the USA, Italy, UK, Chile, China and South Africa. In total, its analytics have verified 30,000 leaks enabling infrastructure and utilities firms to save more than 7,000 million gallons of water, 17,000 MWh of energy, and 11,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Over 20 per cent of treated water in Europe is lost in distribution systems – 75 per cent of this water could be recovered, presenting a significant opportunity to safeguard supplies threatened by climate change. Utilis, which harnesses a global network of satellites, provides a far more productive system for detecting leaks than traditional methods, which rely heavily upon costly physical sensors or manual checks by engineers.

Utilis’ patented algorithm uses SAR sensors on board contracted satellites to filter out the signature of drinking water and locate likely leaks. This round of investment will enable Utilis to continue investing in its innovative products to expand into the ground engineering market, while adding to its team across its offices in the USA, Israel, and the UK, and expanding its sales and marketing to accelerate growth in its core markets of the UK, Europe and North America.

Utilis now holds five patents and has multiple patents pending for its SAR analytics to be used across a range of sectors. From its original focus on leaks for water utilities, Utilis is now a fully-fledged provider of earth observation data to engineering firms, property managers, and transportation planners alike. Its easy-to-use GIS format data can be imported in any standard analysis or modelling software, fulfilling Utilis’ mission to advance planet Earth’s resource resilience through SAR analytics.

Elly Perets, CEO of Utilis, commented: “We have been looking for a partner that was the right fit for Utilis, and we are pleased that we finally found that in Beringea. We look forward to growing our product line into new verticals in industries such as transportation and mining to help them solve problems caused by underground water.”

Eyal Malinger, Investment Director at Beringea, commented: “With worsening climate change, water scarcity is, and will increasingly become, a top national priority for many countries. There is a clear environmental, social and financial imperative to better protect water resources around the world.The Utilis team has developed a remarkably accurate and effective solution to this problem, removing the need for costly and inefficient physical sensors through a pioneering use of satellite data. Utilis’ data solution is truly scalable and there is now a clear opportunity for Utilis to scale up its commercial and environmental impact worldwide.”