Overhead Powerline Inspection

Using UAVs for a power line inspection

The energy supplier Westnetz will rely on the Aibot X6 hexacopter when inspecting its facilities in the future. Two of the intelligent UAVs already belong to the fleet of the Essen-based company.

Westnetz GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of RWE, operates and maintains a 342,000-km-long electricity grid, a gas network covering 38,000 km and a 9,100-km-long water supply network. The first step of the regular inspections is evaluating current systems according to the DIN 31051 standard, e.g. in the case of wind farms or power supply grids. This involves examining the transmission towers, switching stations, power lines and transformers. It is often a costly and time-consuming process. That is, until now. The testing involving industrial climbers and cherry pickers is now being supplemented with aerial inspections with a UAV. The copters fly autonomously around the objects that are to be inspected and taking sharp and high-resolution images with a high-quality single-lens reflex camera.

Hexapilot Maik Neuser of Westnetz GmbH is enthusiastic about the possibilities opened up by the Aibot X6 inspection UAV, and says:

“The hexacopter images show cable damage in great detail and enable us to quickly make decisions on actions to be taken.”

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