Germany: Siemens has launched a new service approach for overhead line inspection called “SIEAERO” at European Utility Week 2018 in Vienna, Austria. For the first time, artificial intelligence and a long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are used to bring inspection of transmission lines to the next level. SIEAERO smart analytics software is utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to store, manage and analyze all data in one integrated software system. To reduce the needed amount of flights and inspection efforts drastically, SIEAERO is using a unique high-resolution multi-sensor-system that can record all needed data in one go. Compared to conventional overhead line inspection, SIEAERO service is fully automated, faster and more precise.
Siemens has been working closely with German and Austrian transmission system operators (TSO) TenneT and APG on the development of SIEAERO overhead line inspection service since 2016. With both TSOs Siemens has worked on test cases and the validation of a comprehensive inspection approach.
“SIEAERO is a gamechanger in overhead line inspection because we are using digitalization to bring services for our customers to the next level”, says Mirko Düsel, CEO Transmission Solutions at Siemens’ Energy Management Division. “Everything, from planning and performing inspection flights, managing and analyzing the gathered data to report generation and long-term data archiving, is more cost-efficient with SIEAERO – and it provides better and faster results on top.”
With more than 200,000 kilometers (km) of overhead lines transmitting power to households and industries In North America and Europe alone, overhead line inspection is estimated to be a billion Euro market. These lines need regular inspection to avoid failures. Presently, TSOs inspect their power lines with helicopters at least once a year.
Using SIEAERO, uses CAMCOPTER® S-100, a high-performance long-range UAV for beyond visual line-of-sight operation with a high payload capacity. The S-100 carries the SIEAERO high-end multi-sensor system.
Schiebel Group, a Vienna-based company, is supplying the CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAVs and is also involved in R&D activities to ensure that specific requirements are met. SIEAERO is utilizing the S-100 with a flight distance up to 200km and a sensor load capacity of 50 kg. Siemens has partnered with Lufthansa Aerial Services for the operation of UAVs. Lufthansa will perform the SIEAERO inspection flights globally.
Since all necessary sensors and cameras are combined in one multi-sensor system, all relevant inspection data are recorded in one go, making SIEAERO much faster and more cost-efficient than conventional services. The extensive multi-sensor data generated during the flights are handled by the SIEAERO smart data analytics software.
The 3D LIDAR Sensors used in SIEAERO have 120 dots per m2, while industry standard is roundabout 30 dots per m². More sensor data results in more precise analytics and results. Moreover, SIEAERO uses five cameras with 100 megapixels each, while competitors are typically working with one or two cameras and a lower resolution. On top, the SIEAERO multi-sensor system also includes infrared and corona sensors.