Infrared Thermography of Transmission powerlines using Drones

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1.      Scope of work

Aerial Infrared thermography of transmission power line using drones for hot spot/Fault detection.

Classifying the severity of the fault base on known relevant methodology and the current load percentage.  

Using radiometric thermal imaging system and appropriate platform (Drone/VTOL)   

Analyzing and reporting.


2.      Characterization of requirements

2.1  Defining of flight profile (Height, Velocity, Background, Clutter, Distance from object, Angle, Field of view).

2.2  Choosing the write platform (Drones, VTOL, flight time depend on payload weight. Charging on site, Autonomous capability, stabilizing capability/Gimbal, integration of payload to the platform, communication, level of data security).

2.3  Choosing radiometric thermal imaging system and NOT thermal camera, choosing the right optics for measuring temperature of faults and not only detecting faults, there is big difference between detection and measuring.

2.4  Elimination of false alarm and solar reflection during flight.

2.5  Measuring the fault temperature based on the right emissivity, otherwise you measure wrong temperature.

2.6  Classification of the fault severity and schedule of the repairing.

2.7  Defining all kind of potential faults in power transmission lines.

2.8  Preparing and defining template of the test report.

2.9  Considering all regulation issues that relevant to the mission in SOW.

2.10          Attention and solution for obstacle in the Flight Route (Parallel of transmission power lines, crossing of distribution power lines, communication network etc.)

2.11          Recognizing the pole in terms of number and coordinates (the pole and drone GPS not at the same position).

2.12          Choosing of Analyzing software or using SDK. 

3.      Milestones of the project

3.1  Execution of paragraph 2.

3.2  Purchasing of radiometric thermal imaging system including lens.

3.3  Integration of the radiometric thermal imaging system with CCD camera.

3.4  Execution of POC and on site pilot.

3.5  All the analyzing and reporting must made by certificate thermographer  with aerial infrared thermography of power transmission line from helicopter.


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There are some DJI solutions involving thermal imagery, some on the professional side (ex. Mavic+FLIR, Mavic Dual ) and some on the enterprise side (thermal sensors that can be connected to enterprise-level drones like the Matrice series). Both have been used for this purpose. The benefit is a solid reputation in the technology involved and a robust support system.

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Thanks for sharing this. The DJI/FLIR solution is very robust and high quality. FLIR is definitely the industry leader in thermal imaging. The hardest part is determining the correct optic for your application. 13mm seems to be a good roofiing choice, 25mm seems to be a good choice for electric utility companies, and the 19mm seems to be good for doing a little bit of everything. FLIR also offers good software for analyzing and sharing thermal images

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