Inspecting electrical infrastructure using 3D data

Posted by Karolis Mirinavičius

Typical infrastructure companies are responsible for maintaining their assets efficiently on timely manner, to keep the service available and reliable. Electrical distribution grids are not exception, our DSO Energijos skirstymo operatorius (ESO) is responsible for more than 100 000 km of electricity lines of which 70% is overhead lines installed on designated poles. All these lines require proper visual inspection to evaluate the maintenance need on the lines itself and managing surrounding area like eliminating existing vegetation below the lines or too close to the line. Such infrastructure is situated in whole country, so it can be an empty field or really forested area - all of it must be inspected according to the plans to ensure safety and  reliability of the network.

In similar manner as using Lidar to evaluate solar potential for home owners (solar potential calculator) Lidar data can be used to build 3D model of electrical overhead lines and their protection zone. With current available technologies carrier during the flight can obtain lidar data together with HD pictures and additional sensors if needed for particular tasks (like infrared or ultraviolet cameras). With more data acquired on the same mission it is already more cost-efficient and now such inspection solution is adaptable to the distribution grid, where we have more complex networks and smaller elements when compared to transmission grid.

With detailed 3D data and additional images such solutions provides clear view of  current situation in the line and identify main risks, that means the information is more accurate and gathered much faster.

By doing several scans every year there is potential to have growth predictions and even more better vegetation management and planning. Collected images can bu further used to develop automated defects recognition using machine learning techniques.

This enable new ways to digitalize electricity grid maintenance and provide better services for electrify users.

Want to discuss further? Contact me, Vytautas.

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