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Innovative Technology to Speed Up Surveillance of Power Transmission Lines

Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid plans to use unmanned aerial vehicles for the surveillance of overhead power transmission lines. Aerial pictures made using regular, infrared and ultraviolet cameras will make it possible to evaluate the state of constructions, connectors and isolators with a greater precision and reduce the duration of surveillance.
“The implementation of innovations is one of Litgrid’s strategies, as the company seeks to ensure the smooth operation of the Lithuanian electricity transmission system. Now we are testing the latest technology, which would make the surveillance of power lines less time-consuming, more efficient and cost-saving. Even more importantly, we will cause no inconvenience to famers or those living in the vicinity of overhead power lines, as aerial surveillance will spare the need to enter private property,” stated Virgilijus Poderys, Director General of Litgrid.
Electricity transmission system operator Litgrid now operates over 6 600 kilometres of power transmission lines. Litgrid employees can inspect 5–8 kilometres of lines per day, walking on foot long the lines. By contrast, unmanned aerial vehicles, can survey over 50 kilometres of lines per day, weather permitting.
The technology is now undergoing tests – it is used for the extensive surveillance and evaluation of the technical state of a 330 kV Lithuanian Power Plant – Neris power transmission line. The physical tests of the aerial vehicles are carried out by the Space Science and Technology Institute, a partner of Litgrid.
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