Drones watch over pylons

What is the fastest, surest, most reliable way of assessing the state of wear and tear of a pylon? Use a drone!

dronesAssessing the state of a pylon is a complicated affair. An examination from ground level has until now been backed up by a lineman climbing up the structure. Not only is this a long operation requiring adherence to some very stringent safety procedures, but there is the added problem of the impossibility of access to certain pylons carrying high voltage lines.

So for a faster response and greater safety, Omexom, the VINCI brand dedicated to Power & Grid, now uses an unusual technique. An overview assessment of the structures without the need to lock them out is carried out using a drone fitted with a camera. Technicians can then analyse the resulting images.

However, the aim is not to replace linemen with drones: no robot is capable of determining the level of corrosion of a structure and human expertise will always be needed. Drones and linemen have mutually complementary tasks in obtaining better information on the status of pylon superstructures.


Multiples applications for drones

Drones fitted with thermal imaging cameras can be used for diagnostic analysis of heating in overhead cables (or equipment in transformer substations) to replace current helicopter-based diagnostics. 

When equipped with a camera, drones can be used for 3D modelling of the topography of otherwise difficult-to-access terrain.