News about digitizing infrastructures and automating utility inspection with drones and AI

Best drones for power line inspection

Hepta Airborne has years of experience in operating drones for power line inspection. We have used drones for inspections on three continents and in all sorts of environments and conditions. Based on the know-how gathered during those operations, we have created this guide to give you an overview of the best drones for power line inspection.

A man using a drone for power line inspection

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Pro

Used mostly for RGB data capture in low and middle voltage power line inspections, this nimble drone is one of the most used power line inspection drones in the world. Drones in power line inspection have to be able to navigate all sorts of obstacles from vegetation to infrastructure and Mavic 2 is more than capable to do that. Its small size and weight mean that it can be easily transported to wherever it is needed, but also means that you should take a spare set of batteries with you. We recommend our customers to have two to three sets of spare batteries with them when conducting inspections. This is especially important in cold weather when the battery capacity is limited.

Specs:

  • Max Takeoff Weight – 1100 g
  • Max Flight Time (with no wind) – 31 min (at a consistent speed of 25 kph)
  • Max Speed (near sea level, no wind)
    72 kph (S-mode,without wind)
    50 kph (P-mode,without wind)
  • Max Wind Speed Resistance – 29–38 kph

Drones being used for power line inspection

DJI Matrice series

DJI Matrice series drones are the workhorses of power line inspections. Used for RGB, thermal and LiDAR data capture in low, middle and high voltage lines, they are one of the best performing drones for power line inspection. Boasting a maximum takeoff weight of 9kg, the Matrice series drones allow them to be equipped with a wide array of different sensors. Although larger maximum takeoff weight and longer flight times also mean larger size. This limits their ease of use and manoeuvrability in close quarters, such as conducting drone power line inspections in thick forests with a lot of vegetation.

DJI Matrice 300 RTK specs:

  • Max Takeoff Weight – 9 kg
  • Max Flight Time – 55 min
  • Max Speed – S mode: 23 m/s; P mode:17 m/s
  • Max Wind Resistance – 15 m/s

Power lines over a field

Autel Robotics Evo II Series

While not as well known as DJI, Autel Robotics Evo II Series do offer great alternative drones for power lines inspection. Supporting video resolutions up to 6K and hyper-light feature designed for shooting in low-light conditions, these drones do pack a punch. Direct competitor of the Mavic drones, EVO II series offers the same kind of flexible drone for power line inspection, but with even greater focus on the gathered picture quality.  As the EVO II series drones are designed to be small in size, you should keep a couple of sets of spare batteries near you when conducting drone power line inspections with them, similarly to the DJI Mavic drones.

Autel Robotics EVO II Pro specs:

  • Maximum Flight Time – 40 minutes
  • Maximum Wind Resistance – 17 m/s
  • Maximum Flight Speed – 20 m/s
  • Maximum Transmission Range – 9km

Hadron 51

While not in the market yet, Hepta Airborne’s own Hadron 51 drone promises to be a game-changer and the best drone for power line inspections. Developed by Hepta Airborne’s team of power line inspectors and aviation experts, Hadron 51 outperforms everything else available currently. Hadron 51 boasts fully open-source architecture,
allows for hybrid or electric configuration and multi op. cellular datalink with encrypted data transfer.
You can read about the future and development of the best drone for power line inspection here.

Specs:

  • MTOM – 28kg
  • Vcruise – 25m/s
  • Flight time with 4kg payload – 2h
  • Payload capacity – 4-12kg
  • Wind resistance – 20m/s
  • IP54

Helping you choose the best drone for power line inspections

From small and agile to large and efficient – there is a drone for every job and every operation. If you are interested in upgrading your capabilities with drone-based operations, feel free to contact and consult Hepta’s experts to find the best drone for your power line inspection goals. You can see and read our case studies about creating drone-based inspection teams for Latvia’s largest DSO or managing drone inspections in Germany. Having accumulated a wealth of experience from conducting operations for a large number of customers, we can help you create your own successful drone power line inspection team and give them superpowers through the use of our AI-driven inspection platform uBird.

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