FuVeX. Long-range planner for drone power line inspection.

02 / 08 / 2022

Drones have become a multibillion-euro industry in a decade, disrupting media, inspection, etc. However, this industry is still in its infancy. Many opportunities, too, are still available as drones become more autonomous and have more excellent capabilities in terms of sensors and the range they can fly. Nevertheless, these increases in capacities and autonomy must be enabled by increasing the safety of the operations. One of the crucial aspects in this sense is the mission planning process, especially in long-range power line inspections. In these operations, drones must be close to the power line to capture high-quality data. This represents 3 main challenges:

  1. The position of the drone has precise to capture the required data, therefore, the waypoints that have to follow by the drone have to be calculated precisely along thousands of kilometres of power lines.
  2. The communications between the drone and the remote pilot must be maintained at all times. This means that the Radio Line Of Sight must be calculated for each ground control station location so it is guaranteed for all the drone trajectories.
  3. No-fly zones have to be avoided during the flight (urban areas, airports, etc.).

FuVeX develops autonomous mission planning software to enable long-range drone power line inspections.

Planning hundreds of operations to manually inspect thousands of power lines, taking into account all these aspects, is a gigantic task prone to human mistakes. That is the reason why we developed the Long-range planner in the first EUH4D Open Call for experiments. This system considers the different requirements (e.g. position of the power lines, radio line of sight, etc.) to calculate 1) automatically proposed ground control station locations and 2) drone waypoints to inspect all the power lines in the area. With this system, our vision is to automate the digitization of power lines fully.