Power Line Inspections
The inspection of high voltage power lines is fundamental to the process of maintenance and operations for any power utility. Power line inspection involves inspecting and examining the transmission and distribution pylons, their high voltage insulators and detecting any thermo-graphic problems. Traditionally the inspection of power lines are done using fixed wing airplanes or helicopters, but with the advent of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), power line inspections can be done using drones to improve the frequency, quality, safety and costs of inspections all at once. Unlike the use of helicopters which are expensive and can be flown only for short periods of time, drones do not have this limitation.
Traditionally helicopters, fixed wing airplanes and now drones are used for power line surveying. This is done in order to complete one or a number of objectives. These objectives include power line thermal imaging, asset management, corona discharge detection, condition assessment, visual inspections, cogitation surveying and LiDaR mapping. Due to the cost, safety and regulation associated with using planes and helicopters, the inspections of power lines are done on an ad hoc basis or to take corrective action based on a fault or anomaly. With the use of autonomous drones, power line inspections can be used for preventative maintenance and condition based monitoring at a fraction of the cost of traditional approaches.