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Power line inspections in southern France

The power distribution network in France consists of over 1.3 million km of overhead lines, making it the biggest network in Europe. This network, like any other, has to be regularly inspected to ensure reliable delivery of electricity to the end customers. By using automated drones instead of helicopters for these inspections, we can save more than 4’000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, while also detecting up to 10 times more defects leading to a higher quality grid by working more proactively.

Last week, we at had the opportunity to demonstrate our solutions to a potential client in France, located close to Valence, south of Lyon.

The city of Valence is situated along the river Rhône, close to the Ardèche mountains. For our demonstration, we were given access to approximately 100 km of power lines in different types of terrain, from the flat farmlands close to the river to the steep hillsides in the mountains. The geo-data, along with custom terrain models for the area was successfully integrated in the Airpelago Power software, in order to enable fully automated drone inspections of the asset.

The first day of inspections was conducted in the flat farmlands close to the river. According to our client’s requirement, the drone captured 6 high quality images of each pole from different angles. The software performed as expected and we felt confident to evaluate the system in more challenging scenarios the next day.

The second day we moved to an area of the grid entering the Ardèche mountains, in order to further demonstrate the system also in terrain with high variations in elevation. The steepness of the mountains was unlike anything we had previously encountered during previous inspection projects in Sweden. Despite this, the system performed well and we were also treated with some magnificent views in the beautiful French weather.

In the end, the demonstration was a success and the client saw a big potential in using our solution. We look forward to entering this newmarket and are excited to take the first step towards bringing our solution for better and greener inspections of power lines to other parts of the world.

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