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State Grid's Qihe unit sends drones out for safer power supply

By Zhuang Qiange | | Updated: 2023-12-02 09:02
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A logo of State Grid is seen in Beijing on June 4, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

Supported by cutting-edge solutions such as artificial intelligence, State Grid's unit in Qihe county, Shandong province, is leveraging drones in equipment inspection.

After module building and positioning, State Grid Qihe Power Supply Co sends drones out for inspection, with paths planned based on the structural features of the substation equipment to enable the drones to shuttle through complex substation equipment flexibly.

During the process of inspection, when a drone passes through key equipment components, such as circuit breakers, mutual inductors on poles, and transformers, it first enters the preset hover point and then carries out refined inspection and detection.

High-definition wide-angle cameras and infrared cameras are used to collect equipment and facility image data according to the preset route. Drones can identify various hazards in equipment clamps and bolts, and collect important equipment information, the State Grid's unit said.

They can also transfer real-time inspection images and data back to the drone control platform, where the technicians can directly check equipment visibly. Available data will also be recognized and reviewed by AI on the platform.

When inspection missions are complete, drones will return to their “nest” for charging and checking, preparing for their next roll-out.

With an aim to accelerate the construction of a smarter platform that combines operation and inspection of electricity transmission, transformation and distribution, State Grid Qihe Power Supply Co has been ramping up its efforts in high-tech, reflected by the success of its drone system. Routine inspection efficiency and precision have both greatly improved, the company said.

At present, the company has 12 fixed drone nests covering the whole electric transmission line. Two substations have completed the flight route planning.

Looking ahead, the company will further explore the application scenarios of drone inspection and promote the integrated inspection of electric transformation, transmission and distribution.

A better control system will be formed to implement full complementary inspection with technicians on the ground and drones in the sky, which is part of the company's strive for a lead among its peers in the province, a company worker said.

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