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

DTEK Grids that develops electricity distribution business in Ukraine continues to digitize its network with the help of drones and AI

DTEK Grids, an operating holding that develops electricity distribution business in Ukraine. DTEK Grids DSOs are serving 5.6 million connections. DTEK Grids is equipping its DSOs’ inspection teams with drones and analyzing power lines in a specialized platform. Through investments into innovative solutions, they have been able to upgrade their inspection capabilities and workflow. 

Drone inspection in progress

DTEK Grids first tested drone technology last year in the Dnipropetrovsk region with Hepta Airborne, a company that specializes in drone inspections and power line data analysis. The pilot project yielded promising results and the two companies entered into a full-scale partnership. DTEK Grids created drone operator teams, who gather the needed data in the field. The drones are equipped with RGB, LiDAR and thermal cameras which allow to detect defects otherwise hidden from the human eye. In addition to that drones allow the inspectors to get a top-down view of the poles, something that is impossible to get from ground level inspections. The ground crews also don’t have to disconnect any of the customers power connection, which significantly speeds up the process of identifying defects and pleases the customers. 

While diagnosing the power lines faults, a drone scanner can detect 3 times more defects than traditional walking crews. Thanks to the drones and IT systems, an operator can foresee a potential fault spot, and the human factor during such inspections is minimized.
Ivan Geliukh, CEO of DTEK Grids

“While diagnosing the power lines faults, a drone scanner can detect 3 times more defects than traditional walking crews. Thanks to the drones and IT systems, an operator can foresee a potential fault spot, and the human factor during such inspections is minimized. DTEK Grids is attracting new technologies to Ukraine, creating an innovation ecosystem for Distribution System Operators. We are changing approaches to the operation of power grids to ensure that every home, every customer has a reliable power supply,” says Ivan Geliukh, CEO of DTEK Grids.

Once all needed data is collected, it is then inserted into the uBird platform – a cloud-based power line infrastructure platform developed by Hepta Airborne. The platform enables the inspectors to check the collected data easily, annotate defects on a GPS-based map and to employ machine learning models in the process as well. Machine learning models help to speed up the analysis by eliminating the need for searching for certain defects. This combination of drones and accompanying analysis platform allows for quicker inspections and more detected defects.

uBird platform in action

We believe that uBird gives the inspections teams the tools they need to succeed. And DTEK Grids has been a great example of this. They are capturing and analysing more data with every passing day, making sure their power grid is well taken care of.
Henri Klemmer, CEO of Hepta Airborne

“We believe that uBird gives the inspections teams the tools they need to succeed. And DTEK Grids has been a great example of this. They are capturing and analysing more data with every passing day, making sure their power grid is well taken care of. They started the project with an innovative and result-oriented approach and it has served them well. We look forward to helping them achieve even more in the future,” commented Henri Klemmer, CEO of Hepta Airborne.

 

Building on the success and momentum generated in the Dnipropetrovsk region, DTEK Grids is now expanding its drone inspections to the Kyiv region, where it has more than a million customers. Having started in September 2021, the goal here is to survey 400km of power lines before the end of the year. The company considers extending drone equipment base up to 6 drone sets in Kyiv region and 5 drone sets in Dnipropetrovsk region and to use this technology in other DTEK Grids DSOs. 

 

About DTEK Grids:

DTEK Grids is an operating holding that develops electricity distribution business in Ukraine. DTEK Grids includes 7 DSOs in 5 regions of Ukraine, that serve 13 million inhabitants, 5.6 million connections, including 150,000 commercial customers. Our DSOs are employing more than 18,000 people, distributing electricity through a network of over 188,000 kilometers. The company is a part of DTEK, the largest private investor in Ukraine’s energy sector.  

DTEK Grids constantly cooperate with European energy companies and institutions, being a member of E.DSO and the Energy Community Distribution System Operators in Electricity (ECDSO-E) Coordination Group as of 2018.  

DTEK Grids official LinkedIn and Twitter

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