Power Utilities

Automate transmission line inspections with AI/ML and UAVs

Combine aerial drone inspection with artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate defect detection

Redefining inspection efficiency through automation 

Many utilities have programs to automate transmission line inspections and defect detection through the combination of AI/ML and aerial drone inspection. With geographically dispersed assets consisting of standardized components and routine fault conditions, creating AI algorithms to classify the components and accurately identify the typical defects is relatively straightforward.  Optelos is used as the drone power line inspection software platform for building, deploying and managing the training and ongoing improvement of AI algorithms with multiple large utility customers globally.

The advantages of combining UAV/drones for inspection image capture with AI/ML for image processing has several advantages:


  • Monitor Assets Over Large Geographies: Power transmission lines span vast areas, often crossing challenging terrains like mountains, forests, wetlands and urban zones. Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can quickly and safely inspect infrastructure and assets. Drones can cover large areas quickly and provide detailed images and videos that can be automatically uploaded and analyzed via AI/ML to detect component failures, typically inspecting 3X the territory at a lower cost and higher accuracy versus using conventional methods.

Download white paper

“8 Ways to Optimize Drone Asset Inspections: Optelos Puts Together Lessons Learned from Enterprise Clients”
  • Improve Team Productivity and Inspection Capacity: Aerial drones typically capture 15-30 high resolution images of each transmission tower at prescribed heights and distances. By utilizing autonomous drones, these images captures can be pre-programmed and automated, virtually eliminating missed component issue detection due to distance, angle or obstruction. Inspection teams that have combined drone data capture with AI/ML processing have seen a 300% increase in inspection capacity utilizing the same resources.
  • Enhanced Accuracy and Risk Management: Manual inspections, while time-tested, always come with a margin of human error. Manual inspection methods have an estimated error rate of 17% due to fatigue, poor image quality, process failures, lost images, manual recording failures, and a myriad of other issues. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors provide consistent and detailed imagery, minimizing this margin of error. Additionally, by combining AI/ML analysis of these high resolution images, developing issues are discovered earlier, reducing the risk of major equipment failures and associated downtime, improving SAIDI and SAIFI.

If you would like to learn more about how Optelos can help your electric utility implement an AI inspection program, complete the form to download our white paper, or follow the link below to request a personalized demo, program consultation or ask a question.

“Optelos delivered a solution that greatly improved our complex asset inspection and maintenance program across the entire organization and allowed us to manage and analyze our asset data like never before”

Matt Rachford Innovation Leader, Georgia Pacific
Drone Powerline Inspection with AI

Visual AI and Machine Learning in Utility Inspection

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies can be used to automate transmission line inspections, save time and improve accuracy. Computer vision AI classifiers can be trained to recognize specific asset components and identify potential problems using visual data.

  • Inspection imagery processed through AI algorithms can identify wear and tear, component degradation, and other anomalies.
  • Model accuracy can be improved over time through training. As more data gets processed, the platform learns and adapts, becoming more accurate at identifying asset types and issues.
  • Inspection team capacity expands 3X as the AI algorithm flags images that have issues that require further attention, focusing time on prioritization and remediation actions, enhancing overall operational efficiency.

Geolocating Damage Assessments

Power transmission networks cover large geographic areas with assets that look similar, making it critical to pinpoint the exact location of detected anomalies.

  • Optelos extracts drone image metadata to determine the exact location of detected issues, plotting the inspection images on an orthmosaic map. For maintenance crews, this enables more accurate maintenance planning and improved repair resource utilization.
  • The Optelos platform tracks and prioritizes the severity level of detected issues. This reduces time spent on site assessments, accelerates repair of critical faults, enables batching jobs by geolocation, and ultimately ensures that transmission lines remain operational with minimal disruptions.
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