BVLOS powerline inspection over a metropolis utilizing VTOL UAVs – Drones Information
Skyqraft, a data-driven infrastructure inspection company from Sweden, received BVLOS operating approval for the DeltaQuad VTOL UAV from Vertical Technologies to inspect a large part of the Swedish power grid.
Skyqraft flew completely autonomously from take-off to landing and was able to carry out several BVLOS missions using radio transmission in combination with LTE-based video and control connections to collect high-resolution images for over 1000 km of power lines. The resulting data is used for early indicators of power line, isolator, and tower failures.
The missions are designed to follow the power lines at a safe height using automatic terrain tracking. The on-board camera is automatically triggered to take high-resolution photos of the selected path, while the operator receives live videos and maintains a control connection over long distances. With the help of ADS-B transponder receivers, the pilot is made aware of every aviation up to 100 km away.
Beyond visual renunciation
A DeltaQuad Pro #MAP was originally tested in Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) and Extended Visual Line Of Sight (EVLOS). The success of these attempts, combined with the advanced fail-safe features and a redundant flight system, prompted the Swedish authorities to give Skyqraft an additional waiver of the DeltaQuad to fly longer-range missions and cross populated areas.
After the waiver was secured and after several BVLOS missions in sparsely populated areas, the DeltaQuad was instructed to carry out two missions that cross the city of Gävle autonomously and cover 90 km of power lines. A significant step forward as this was the first official BVLOS autonomous fixed-wing UAV flight over a Swedish city.
To date, Skyqraft has logged over 30 flight hours of BVLOS and inspected more than a thousand kilometers of power lines.
Machine learning error detection
Using the latest machine learning technologies, the resulting data sets are automatically analyzed and errors in one of the core components are marked for manual review.
Each confirmed error is added to a daily report, combined with pictures and the exact geographic location. The reports are sent to the specified maintenance teams, who in most cases can take action within 24 hours of detection.
Skyqraft employs several UAV operators, AI programmers and data analysts to perform the powerline inspection. Working closely with local authorities, airports and energy companies, they can efficiently collect high-quality data and use computer-aided machine learning algorithms to create a reliable risk assessment that enables energy companies to stay ahead of impending grid failures.
“With DeltaQuad, we were able to inspect areas that were practically inaccessible with regular inspection drones. With the advanced planning features, we can create off-road emissions in minutes, and even on our longest flights, we use less than half of the available battery capacity. The vertical take-off and vertical landing enable us to work practically anywhere, and the long-distance functions significantly reduce the time and effort required to collect the required data. Vertical Technologies was a great partner who supported us in all aspects of our UAV activities. The DeltaQuad drones have achieved such constant stability and reliability that they are now the core platform in our operations. “UMAR CHUGHTAI, CTO AND co-founder of SKYQRAFT
Skyqraft is currently expanding its activities to the United States, where the FAA’s first BVLOS waiver of a fixed-wing VTOL UAV is currently being received. More information about Skyqraft is available at www.skyqraft.com.
About the DeltaQuad
The DeltaQuad is a fully autonomous fixed-wing UAV with vertical take-off and landing functions. It can travel up to 100 km in a single flight while carrying industrial-grade sensors such as 61MP camera systems or double infrared and RGB surveillance gimbals.
The DeltaQuad is manufactured by Vertical Technologies, a Dutch manufacturer of commercial VTOL drones for surveillance, transport, mapping and inspection. Further information on the DeltaQuad VTOL UAV can be found at www.deltaquad.com.