Telangana uses drones to inspect power lines, towers and minimises human intervention – The Indian Express

Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao on Tuesday announced the successful completion of a pilot project that explored the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (EAVs) for the inspection of extra high tension (EHT) transmission towers and lines to overcome the limitations of manual inspections.
In the year-long pilot, which began in August 2020, drones and artificial intelligence tools were used to undertake aerial surveys and generate inspection reports. The emerging technologies wing of Telangana’s ITE&C department partnered with Transmission Corporation of Telangana (TS-Transco) for the project.
During the trials, Hyderabad-based startup Centillion Networks demonstrated its capabilities in drone technology for inspection, monitoring, and patrolling of EHT transmission towers, lines, and substations with a high-quality 4K resolution camera and AI-based image recognition system.
According to a release from the minister’s office, the project was undertaken for the inspection of EHT transmission line towers for 220 KV Chandrayagutta – Ghanpur line, 220 KV Shivarampally – Gachibowli line, 132 KV Minpur -Jogipet line, 220 KV Budidampadu – Waddekothapally line, and for another 10 towers. Centillion Network used drones fitted with high-resolution cameras and the inspection of each tower was completed within 20 minutes.
The aerial survey and tower inspection were conducted by Centillion Networks in the presence of officials from TS-Transco and the ITE&C department. With high-resolution imagery from drones and AI-based feature identification, inspection reports with photos and videos were prepared for each tower along with the specification of exact issues to suggest actionable interventions.
Principal secretary (ITE&C department) Jayesh Ranjan said inspection of towers for TS-Transco is one of the most innovative use-cases of leveraging drone technology. “The use of drones can both speed up the activities and reduce the hazards to humans in various situations such as this. With the new drone rules liberalising the sector, the adoption can be rapidly scaled,” he said.

The department estimates that automated inspections using drones can reduce man-hours and costs by approximately 50 per cent, in addition to reducing the potential life risk that is posed by manual inspection of high-tension lines. Also, the reports generated by drones help the department in resolving the issues quickly as per the specifications/manuals, it said.
Venkat Chundi, founder of Centillion Networks & HC Robotics, said tower inspection by drones will provide complete and accurate data for analysis. Such regular and periodic inspections could reduce the maintenance costs as well. Since accurate data is collected the risk involved during manual repairs can be reduced to a great extent, he said.
According to the release, the project is soon expected to be scaled up by TS-Transco.
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