Urals | Technology & innovation

Ural drone for monitoring power lines goes to Siberia

24 Sep '20
After successful tests at the facility of Rosseti Ural, Siberian-Ural Energy Company will start testing the robotic drone Rope Walker.

The Rope Walker robotic diagnostic system is being developed by the Skolkovo Foundation resident, the Laboratory of the Future in Yekaterinburg. Rope Walker allows to remotely monitor power lines and determine the places of its possible damage, and in the future will be able to repair them. It scans the track, builds a 3D map, detects defects, records and transmits data. The complex has 4 platforms, differing in functionality: Dragonfly, Spider, Bumblebee, Wasp.

The director of the small innovative enterprise Laboratory of the Future Alexander Lemekh in an interview with Sk.ru called the development a hybrid of an eagle and a snake:
The eagle takes off and joins the power line of a power line. Further on it crawls too, which conducts the necessary control. If there is a defect on the line, our device will detect it and prevent system crash. The project involves the integration of flying and mobile robots to perform complex control of a high-voltage line. A flying robot is needed in order to quickly and along the shortest path reach any place on the line. For example, in Russia there are more than 2.5 million km of high-voltage lines that require constant monitoring. Today, visual inspection is used, as a rule, on foot. An installer tries to find a defect at a height of more than 20 meters through binoculars. It sometimes works.

Engineering instrumental examination with the use of special diagnostic devices is more effective. However, these devices are expensive, require high qualifications and a long diagnostic time. Inspection with lifting on a support is also more effective. But it is much more complicated, in most cases it requires disconnecting the high-voltage line, and most importantly, it is associated with a fatal risk due to high voltage and work at height. Our complex is designed to perform a comprehensive engineering instrumental riding survey, which is 10 times more effective than a similar comprehensive survey.
As Sk.ru reported, the first tests of the Rope Walker took place in June 2020 in Yekaterinburg on the 110 kV power transmission line Novo-Sverdlovskaya CHPP - Dachnaya, which belongs to PJSC Rosseti-Ural. A new platform for assessing the capabilities of robots will be the 110 kV high-voltage line KTETs-2 - Belozerskaya in Kurgan. In the future, Siberian-Ural Energy Company plans to use drones to survey electrical networks in the Kurgan and Tyumen regions.
The developers of the Rope Walker system have incorporated in its functionality the solution of tasks that are really important for power engineers. First of all, ensuring the safety of people during work by reducing the human factor and the absence of direct contact between personnel and wires of high-voltage lines, said Danil Anuchin, director of the Siberian-Ural Energy Company, about the development.
He noted other advantages of drones, from quick monitoring to reducing the time required to eliminate technological disruptions.
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