With accelerating urbanization, more and more extra high voltage and high capacity power lines are needed in cities, which requires traversing all kinds of complex geographical environments. This creates great difficulties for power line inspections; some locations even put workers' lives at risk.
Power line inspection by UAV/drone allows real-time transmission of information to ground control centers, utilizing equipment like visible light cameras, infrared thermal imagers & etc. Patrol by UAV/drone can increase accuracy and efficiency in operation and specific solution detail includes:

  1. Mission
    There are at least four possible line inspection missions by UAV/drone:
    First, routine line inspection – UAV/drone can reduce the labor intensity of the inspection process, and increase the efficiency of line inspection and thus reduce cost.
    Second, malfunction line inspection – UAV/drone can quickly and accurately identify the location of the malfunction of the electrical network and send the real-time information to the ground station.
    Third, corona discharge and inspection.
    Fourth, 3D/2D corridor mapping.
  2. Methods
    The main methods of line inspection by UAV/drone include: visible-light video tape recording, remote photography, and infrared thermal imaging.
    The main equipment: high-speed camera, and an uncooled FPA infrared thermal imager (temperature range: -20 ° C to + 500 ° C).
    After specifying the safe temperature range at the ground station, the UAV/drone operator can quickly find the abnormal temperature area on the screen and the exact temperature. The UAV/drone can also maintain a fixed position in the air, lock up the temperature region and illustrate the line on control interface in the ground station. The UAV/drone can mainly monitor single line defects such as line barriers, loose line fittings, deletions and wear, insulators deterioration, damaged/filthy elements, misaligned parts, loose and damaged spacers, wear of wire and ground line, wear of wire and internal fittings, overheat of the junction of wire, etc. The UAV/drone, when integrated with a cooled infrared thermal imager (which can also act as a high precision SF6 gas leak detector) can effectively detect the leak.
  3. Inspection process
    The ground control stations have an autonomous navigation function, which control the UAV/drone take-off. The ground station receives the images in real-time. The UAV/drone can also reach a specific tower/segment/position very quickly using GPS, greatly improving work efficiency.