Urals | Technology & innovation

Drone enables remote monitoring of power lines

9 Jun '20
At the facility of the company “Russian Grids Ural” - 110 kV transmission line “Novo-Sverdlovskaya TPP - Dachnaya” successfully completed the next test complex “Rope Walker”. The robotic diagnostic system made the first automatic flyover of a power line pylon without a pilot.

In 2019, the design of an automated system for monitoring, maintenance and local repair of power lines based on the Kanatohod robotic complex was approved by the NTI Interagency Working Group as part of the Energy Roadmap and received financial support.

Automatic flight and landing control allows expanding the capabilities of the complex for monitoring overhead lines in hard-to-reach places, eliminating pilot errors and minimizing the presence of specialists in the security zone of power facilities.

The first test of the automatic navigation system “Laboratory of the Future”, the developer of the robotic complex, was carried out at the stand in the High Technology Technopark of the Sverdlovsk Region in May 2020.
“According to a pre-designed mission, the“ tightrope walker ”took off, went to a given point above the wire and recognized it with a vision system. The positioning of the “Rope Walker” and the landing on the wire were completed normally in automatic mode. Then the wheel module was launched, the “Rope-walker” began to move along the span. At a predetermined distance from the support, the drone stopped, automatically took off from the wire and flew over the 110 kV power transmission line support to an adjacent span. At that time, the diagnostic team monitored the operation of all the “Rope Walker” systems from the mobile control center using the telemetry module, ”said Alexey Sokolov, chief engineer of the Laboratory of the Future, sharing test details.

“This is a major breakthrough for the power industry. We are developing a technology with which you can remotely monitor the status of power lines, do maintenance and local repairs. The creation of robotics for energy includes a wide range of a wide variety of developments. A series of drones for various purposes on a unified platform, appropriate software for mission planning are being developed, various diagnostic equipment is being modified, devices and technologies for maintenance and local repair of overhead lines are being developed. Experience with foreign energy companies gives us a vector of further development - enterprises are interested not only in the purchase of complexes, but also in the construction of factories and the creation of training programs based on the “Rope Walker”, ”said Alexander Lemekh, Director of the Laboratory of the Future.
The results achieved were demonstrated to the management of Rosseti Ural, where the technology is being tested.
“Remote automated and robotic maintenance of power lines is an urgent task that every electric grid company faces within the framework of the adopted digital transformation strategy. We strive to ensure the complete safety of our staff and constantly improve the reliability of power supply to consumers, therefore we closely monitor innovations, support such projects and plan their pilot implementation, ”commented Vladimir Bolotin, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer of Rosseti Ural.

“Laboratory of the Future”
is a focal company of the Skolkovo Foundation and the Ural Federal University, a resident of the High Technology Technopark of the Sverdlovsk Region. The project is supported by the Innovation Promotion Fund. In 2019, the design of an automated system for monitoring, maintenance and local repair of power lines based on the Kanatohod robotic complex was approved by the NTI Interdepartmental Working Group. A new stage of financing and development of the project has now begun.
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