How photogrammetry will replace LiDAR in transmission line inspections?

Revolution in the power energy sector in on. Polish UAV manufacturer recently launched the innovative photogrammetry-based algorithm for transmission line modelling. It is to replace costly helicopter inspections.

FlyTech UAV recently launched Innovative long-range electric power lines modeling with fixed-wing aerial data. The solution cuts down on the time spent in the field and promises significant cost reduction.

The power line management is extremely important as branches and brush encroaching on power lines might cause damages such as short circuits (and blackouts) or even fire. Drones can be effectively used in transmission& distribution sector for utilities inspections: they provide accurate data and increase operations safety, but typically require using costly laser scanners and have a limited flight range.

This is why Polish technology company introduced the pioneer service for power line management with the use of fixed-wing UAV, with the aim of cost reduction and streamlining the operations. The innovative photogrammetry-based algorithm allows for power line reconstruction and preparing the LiDAR-quality data with aerial imagery only, which dramatically reduces total labour costs, in comparison to methods employing helicopter and LiDAR.

Using an efficient flying wing BIRDIE allows to cover up to 10 km of transmission lines in one, 60-minute BVLOS flight. Moreover, telemetry range is no longer a limitation, as BIRDIE is equipped with unlimited GSM connectivity.

How FlyTech UAV reduced costs of transmission line management? Use case.

The job for one of power energy providers in Poland proves the reliability of the system.

12 km of power lines mapped in one day with BIRDIE, high-quality photographs and full report showing the power line surroundings. The aim of the UAV mission was to inspect several sections of transmission lines in Lesser Poland, in the highlands, performing UAV VLOS flights.

Figure 1: Aerial photograph from BIRDIE UAV mission

The whole mission was conducted with the use of UAV BIRDIE, equipped with the full-frame 42-Mpix camera and the PPK on-board. The total mission was divided into eight 20-minute flights and covered in total 12 km of power lines in VLOS flights only.

As a result, the client got high-quality images with the GSD about 1 cm. FlyTech UAV processed aerial photographs with the pioneer in-house algorithm. Following product were generated: the 3D transmission line reconstruction and tree trimming report. The report describes transmission line surroundings, including vegetation: branches and brush encroaching to powerlines, and where the pruning/trimming is necessary.

The newly-launched service helps infrastructure owners in vegetation management and will dramatically reduce total labour costs in comparison to other inspection methods. Necessary inspections will become more frequent and more available, including operations after storms.

Picture 2 and 3: Distance analysis

FlyTech UAV is the Poland-based drone manufacturer. Their flagship product is fixed-wing BIRDIE, dedicated to surveying, agriculture and power engineering. Equipped with the full-frame camera and PPK allows for achieving survey-grade accuracy. Long flight time and unlimited cellular connectivity ensure efficient coverage. Also, the drone recently got innovative VTOL update for the most demanding terrain conditions.

The newly-launched service helps utility owners to maintain properly cleared transmission lines, and consequently to increase the safety and limit breakdowns or wildfires.

Flytech UAV

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