Applus+, through its Energy & Industry Division in Australia, has secured a major contract to inspect approximately 2,300 km of power lines in this country on behalf of gas and electricity distribution company Evoenergy.
The significance of this project lies in the fact that not only is it the company’s first aerial power-line inspection contract in Australia, but it also combines drone inspection with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging or Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging) technology for taking distance measurements.
This contract, which is scheduled to last two years and extendable by a further year, represents a partnership between the Applus+ inspection team in Australia, who will undertake the data-collection field work with drones (collecting images and LiDAR data), and a team in Spain, responsible for data analysis and diagnostics. In this way, our Applus+ experts once again demonstrate their ability to combine global working with local knowledge.
Of the total 2,300 km of power lines to be inspected, some 600 km are rural and pose accessibility challenges, while 1,400 km are urban. In addition, there are some 300 km of mostly distribution lines.
The inspection team on the ground comprises two highly qualified drone pilots and an assistant controller. They will cover the inspection route in a specially equipped van that enables the technicians to pilot both drones simultaneously. The van has been fitted with a customised battery-charging system that permits the continual charging of the drones’ batteries and, therefore, uninterrupted operation. As such, the inspectors will be able to inspect stretches of between three and six kilometres in just 25 minutes of flight.
For its part, the Spanish team involved in the project is charged with analysing the resulting images to search for anomalies in any aspect of the power lines, as well as with classifying and processing the LiDAR data for distance detection with a view to vegetation management.
With this project, Applus+ once again demonstrates its extensive expertise in managing international projects, as well as the scalability and adaptability of aerial drone inspection, a technology that offers clients the possibility of safer, more efficient inspections.