Tokyo-based Sensyn Robotics has announced enhancements to its inspection system, POWER GRID Check. A business application developed to aid in monitoring and maintaining overhead power transmission facilities, POWER GRID Check enables automatically navigated drones to inspect steel towers and transmission lines.

According to Takaya Masuda, Solution Section Head of POWER GRID Check, the enhancements benefit clients in many ways. “This product can reduce the number of dangerous inspection tasks,” he stated. “It can also standardize flight operations. This saves time and labor.”

The system’s improvements, co-developed with Chubu Electric Power Grid Company, include a newly created mode for tracking power lines. The mode analyzes shooting data in real-time and automatically adjusts the shooting angle based on “line sag” and keeps the power lines within the onboard camera’s field of view (FOV). As a result, the system can reduce labor and costs, as well as increase autonomous capabilities of the drone.

Other POWER GRID Check enhancements allow for the automatic creation of flight paths along power lines while, at the same time, compensating for sags that occur due to the weight of the power line. This allows for increased effectiveness of capturing images of power lines the drones’ onboard cameras.

Masuda explained how Sensyn Robotics worked with Chubu Electric Power Grid to integrate its drone technology in their power grid maintenance and develop the overall system improvements.

“Originally, drones needed to be flown manually, but we changed this to auto-tracking, allowing for high-quality checking independent from the drone pilot,” Masuda explained. “The system we developed was tested at Chubu Electric’s facilities, after which improvements were made based on feedback.”

Masuda reported that his company is currently at work developing further improvements to POWER GRID Check that can bring added value to drone-based inspections of power lines and other energy and utility assets. Much of this work focuses on POWER GRID Check’s data management functions.

“By utilizing advanced technologies established through R&D, such as AI and image analysis, we will continue to improve data acquisition, data management, and data analysis, and refine them for better data utilization,” Masuda said. “In addition, we continuously aim to achieve further labor savings and full automation.”