Drones inspect Romanian power grid, find undocumented power lines

Quadcopter 28 July 2015
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Laserpas, an international remotely piloted airborne system (commonly referred to as drones) operator, has announced the completion of its first transmission line inspection project in Romania.

The company’s unmanned system was used to survey 191 miles of power lines. The project team discovered 31 miles of undocumented power lines and other inaccuracies in data, as well as various security threats.  

Working for the Romanian branch of a major Central and Eastern European energy company, Laserpas made almost 200,000 photographs via a remotely piloted helicopter.

After analyzing the data, it turned out that the client had 222 miles of lines instead of the previously cited number of 191. More than 8 miles of infrastructure lacking wiring were also uncovered.

The survey also revealed that 5,214 power line poles are situated almost a kilometer away from their documented coordinates. The software automatically identified 608 cases of hazardous trees that may cut the power lines if they fell, as well as over 100,000 square meters of dangerous plant life that is needed to be cleared.

In addition, 58 buildings and constructions that are dangerously close to the power lines were found – the data provided by Laserpas will help the client in determining the buildings’ legality. The client has already engaged Laserpas for a second project to survey additional infrastructure.

“While we don’t make the RPAS ourselves, we do develop our own sensor and hardware packages for them. The familiarity with the hardware allows us to design software that fits its capabilities. We use LIDAR and optical scanners, with GPS and inertial navigation ensuring the accuracy of the resulting “point cloud”, explained Mantas Vaskela, CEO of Laserpas. „We also work with aerial photography to make orthophotos. However, LIDAR gives us much more accurate pictures, as well as allows producing 3D models.”

Laserpas’ main focus and area of expertise is RPAS-based surveys of power grid infrastructure, including power lines, transmission towers, various components, adjacent areas, etc. The company has already conducted flights in Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria, with Romania being their last project. The future plans of the company see it working not only in Europe, but also in other regions of the world. Laserpas is a member of Avia Solutions Group family – an international, publicly traded aviation holding company with over 20 subsidiaries worldwide.

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