Power line inspections with drones – at large scale
Detailed power line inspections with drones. A complete end-to-end service.
Airpelago provides end-to-end inspection service of power lines for utility providers, i.e. TSO and DSO, and grid owners within the Nordics. Our inspections with drones are a safer, greener, and more efficient way to inspect infrastructure. We excel in software development, drones, and flight regulations. We use this knowledge to develop state-of-the-art inspections of power lines, from planning and efficient inspection with drones to analysis and reporting. Our different types of inspections are listed below, however, We know that each customer is different and we can help you create unique standardized inspection programs for each customer, with adaptations to image resolution, number of images, camera angles, and points of interest.
1. Mission Planning
2. Efficient inspection with drones
3. Analysis and reporting
Capabilities in many European countries
Four types of inspections
Fly high and fast to identify critical issues i.e. trees and leaning poles
Fly close and get the most details, also with IR.
Balance efficiency of the level of detail to find the most defects at a competitive cost. This is normally the annual inspection.
Generates an accurate digital twin and dense point cloud. ~450 points / m2, ~60 m wide corridors, in one flight at 8 m/s)
The "Service inspection", also referred to as the "Classic inspection" or the "Annual inspection" is designed to identify the majority of deviations when it is conducted once a year. With this cost-efficient inspection, it can be deployed annually for the whole network, something that was not possible with drones just a few years ago. For this annual inspection, the Service inspection, we balance the level of detail in the images, and the number of images per pole or tower, over the total inspecting efficiency. By doing so we collect good-enough images, that still identify most deviations and allow for preventive maintenance work, without driving unnecessary cost.
Images from a Service inspection aim to be good enough to identify all deviations that may pose a danger to third parties. The images must also be good enough to identify deviations that may lead to issues and/or operational disruptions within twelve months. Some deviations, such as small insulator cracks, and minor abrasion damage may not be identified during a Service inspection. During a service inspection of the distribution network, four pictures are normally taken per pole, of which two fit the whole pole and two are close-ups of the top of the pole. In addition, one overview picture is taken between the poles, of the right-of-way.
The drone flies and collects data continuously and the data is uploaded daily for review and analysis. Critical errors such as fallen trees and loose wires are identified instantly by the remote pilot and reported directly to your operating center, often before the drone has landed. In the event of critical errors that pose an immediate danger to third parties, the drone pilot reports directly to the operations center via phone and remains at the scene till further instructions are given.
The "Detailed inspection" is designed to identify all deviations possible, including small cracks and damages to the insulators. Compared to the Service inspection, more pictures are taken during a Detailed inspection and with higher resolution. It is also standard to use IR/Thermal sensors. The focus of the Detailed inspection is to find the deviations, and efficiency is subordinated. This is because the Detailed inspection is deployed at a part of the grid where errors are suspected, rather than the whole grid every year.
Images from a detailed inspection must be good enough to identify even minor deviations such as cracks in insulators and abrasion damage on bolts and eyelets. During a detailed inspection of distribution networks, six to eight pictures are taken of each pole and sometimes more on poles with special equipment such as transformers.