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

Grid operators seek aid from digitalised assets amid the pandemic

As the old adage states, businesses are put to the test in hard times, and what a wonderful test the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has provided. With remote coffee breaks, reviewing our Slack communication best practices and assigning more secluded areas of inspection to grid specialists, work at Hepta continues without major disruptions. However, we are rather an exception than a rule. Many other neighbouring businesses are facing hardship and large-scale layoffs.

When it comes to isolation and home offices, the unusual distribution of electricity consumption poses a threat to the stability of electric grids. While speaking with our clients, we have noticed that some grids tend to cope with the pandemic better than others. Mirroring other industries, grid operators who have invested in digitalisation of their grid are better prepared for the world where staff shortages, movement restrictions and sudden shifts in electricity consumption patterns are the reality.

With Hepta’s uBird cloud platform, grid operators are able to give access of the grid to the engineers who can view the grid’s 3D model, latest RGB and thermal images and use this information to adjust maintenance operations to handle most critical areas. Having the whole grid at their fingertips along with the classification of critical and routine issues enables quick triage of problems and allows to fix pressing issues before disaster strikes.

While social distancing keeps people on their toes, having grid inspectors roam across grounds may seem intimidating. A drone quickly flying over the power line structures is a welcome alternative to potentially infected human contaminating the area.

Our partners have stated that in times like these they see the real value of automating grid’s mechanical inspection using drones and striving towards Digital Twin of power lines. While a few companies cut all non-essential costs to stay afloat, many more have expressed increased interest towards Hepta and our digital solutions amid the pandemic.

The pandemic forces companies to think differently and step out of the routine to embrace new technologies. And as increased remote working possibilities will linger after the crisis has long ended, so will grid operators previously more set in their own ways keep using their digitalised assets more and more.

Hepta provides an end-to-end service in power lines inspection by providing a state of the art software platform that gives a birds-eye view of the grid and inspecting using long-range autonomous drones to deliver best-in-class quality for a competitive price. Hepta leverages automation on all fronts – artificial intelligence helps raise the bar in finding defects; autonomous drones fly for longer and with better precision and the software gives a crystal-clear overview of grid’s state and helps make smart decisions on which issues need to be tackled first.


A Guide to Aerial Inspection Pilot Project

Amidst rapid development in technology, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are becoming increasingly popular in various domains since they’re far more superior than their manned counterparts. Power line inspection is one domain where UAVs or drones offer massive potential with enhanced speed, efficiency, safety, and data management systems.

People, processes, and procedures required for a safe aerial inspection of power lines

As a company pioneering more benign services of the unmanned aerial inspection of power lines, Hepta ensures that airborne security and safety are taken very seriously. Regulatory approval is necessary to obtain “beyond visual line of sight” (BVLOS) flight permits essential for the productive inspection of long power lines.

UAV payloads and software in efficient data gathering and analysis

Hepta Airborne’s innovations always focus on payloads to ensure that the drones cover the required inspection areas and succeed in efficient data gathering. The company currently uses various payloads – including optical RGB photos, infrared, LiDAR, and CORONA – to gather the data required by grid operators.

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