Automatic inspection of electric power inspection drones

On January 8, the first snowfall of 2020 fell in Xuzhou, Jiangsu. The State Grid Xuzhou Power Supply Company then organized employees to conduct special post-snow inspections of the 220 kV Fort Sand Line using drones. It is worth mentioning that the line inspector enters the inspection task into the flight control APP, and the drone inspects two of the linear pole towers without any manual intervention. The entire process takes only 12 minutes.

 

In recent years, due to complex transmission line paths, high tower heights, and wide distribution, the refined inspection of transmission towers has been a major problem. However, the previous track inspection of transmission line drones relied on manual collection. Although the technology is simple, quick to get started, and easy to implement, manual track collection has a large workload, slow speed, high cost, inflexible application scenarios, and cannot be fully adapted. Flexible and autonomous inspection requirements in multiple scenarios.

 

"Existing UAV inspection technologies for transmission lines often require manual track collection, which means that a drone needs to manually control the drone to fly once before the drone can achieve automatic flight. The embedded system is relatively closed, and it is impossible to customize the inspection function according to the actual needs of our site. "Zhao Changxin, director of the Transmission and Inspection Office of Xuzhou Company, revealed the shortcomings of the existing technology.

 

In order to solve these problems thoroughly, Xuzhou Company started to promote the construction of an intelligent coordinated inspection system for drones with independent track planning as the core technology in April 2019. From the project establishment, research and development to testing flight, the company successfully developed the UAV transmission line inspection drone with the core technology of autonomous planning of the track for 7 months and realized the "full automatic driving" of the drone. This drone has realized autonomous flight path planning, autonomous flight control, full “zero” manual intervention, and deep integration of the flight control system and camera control system. This is the first time in the state grid company system.

 

Before each inspection, the operator only needs to enter the mission type, route name, inspection tower number, and other information in the inspection task into the flight control APP, and the track planning system will automatically generate the inspection track according to the task requirements. After the operator checks and confirms the system settings, just start the drone with one click.

 

The UAV automatic planning control center relies on the basic data such as tower base coordinates and tower details entered by the staff in the basic information database in advance, and queries the mission planning requirements according to the task type, and automatically calculates the flight baseline and the safe flight elevation in turn. , Safe flight axis, working machine position coordinates, orbit transfer point coordinates, inter-tower transfer orbit control coordinates, photographic target center coordinates, photographic control parameters, etc., complete automatic mission planning.

 

At the same time, the drone has a built-in track deviation alarm function and a track deviation processing program to monitor the flight attitude in real-time, and the accuracy can reach 0.2 meters. When the route deviates by 1 meter, the drone will automatically hover and issue an early warning to realize the safety control of the entire process from planning to flight. According to calculations, the battery utilization efficiency of the self-planned track has increased by 30%, and the overall inspection efficiency has increased by more than three times.

 

The significant improvement in data processing quality is also a highlight of this drone. In the autonomous flight planning mode of the drone, the photos taken can be processed fully automatically with independent naming, real-time feedback, and classified storage. The inspection is completed to complete the data processing and the inspection data processing is "zero" man-hours. This is an average reduction of 39 minutes compared with the previous traditional drone inspection.

 

"We also calculated an economic account: using traditional mode drone inspections, manually collecting the track of 1 base pole tower costs about 1,700 yuan. Taking the 6,500 bases 220 kV line in Xuzhou as an example, it costs 11.05 million. Calculated based on the scale of the power grid in Jiangsu Province, it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Using the automatic track planning mode will avoid manual collection, which will minimize the cost of inspections, "said Zhao Changxin.

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