Transporting electricity is a challenging business. The transmission and distribution infrastructure is staggering in its size and complexity. Across Europe, there are an estimated 10 million kilometres of power lines, enough to stretch 13 times to the moon and back. There are 90,000 pylons in Britain alone.
Electricity can’t be stored in large quantities, so it must be generated and distributed in real-time. As such, our almost total reliance on electricity puts grid owners and operators under huge pressure.
And this pressure is only increasing as we strive to increase the share of energy generated from renewable sources; and to reduce wildfires which have become increasingly destructive due to climate change. As such, inspection and monitoring is becoming increasingly important.
But this work is risky and expensive, involving working at height and in hazardous environments; pilots and inspectors in helicopters flying close to the grid; and drone pilots walking the route to fly their drone one tower at at time.
Our system introduces several major improvements.
Firstly, it enables the remote capture of high-quality, close-quarter data (component by component, if required), in a way that is more efficient (multiple towers per flight) and perfectly repeatable.
Secondly, it simultaneously captures 2D data (e.g. photos, video) and 3D data (digital twin) in a way that allows the 2D data to be navigated from the 3D model or vice-versa. This significantly reduces the cost of analysis by human or machine.
Finally, the system also almost eliminates risk to workers and carbon emissions.