Carbonix drones for monitoring power lines22. 11. 2022 Tuesday / By: Robert Denes / Industrial / Exact time: BST / Print this page
D rone manufacturer Carbonix is working with power distributor SA Power Networks and communications group Nokia to use long-range un-crewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) for aerial inspections of remote power lines and network equipment.
In the initial phase of the partnership, a Carbonix Volanti UAV (pictured) will be used to demonstrate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capability using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) for wireless network connectivity.
The partnership comes as the state's massive power grid takes a battering from severe storms that isolated the state from the national grid and blacked out parts of Adelaide for days.
South Australia's vast distribution network covers nearly 180,000 square kilometers and 30 per cent of customers live in regional and remote areas of the state.
Carbonix's Australian-made UAVs accelerate utility operators' response times to customer outages, as well as asset inspection cycles, troubleshooting, bushfire preparedness, maintenance work and line resurfacing, while improving employee safety and efficiency.
Carbonix CEO Philip van der Burg said: “Carbonix's long-range UAVs enable asset owners and operators to perform inspections of remote linear infrastructure by providing a helicopter-like flight range of over 500 km provide, significantly reducing costs and impact on communities. and the environment.”
SA Power Networks has used specialist multi-rotor drones in some maintenance areas, including areas with sensitive native vegetation, to re-string power lines, but continues to rely on helicopters for overhead line inspections.
Drones offer a clear alternative in cases where operating helicopters would be unsafe or unsuitable.
The operational and environmental benefits of replacing helicopters with Carbonix drones can reduce operating costs by up to 80 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 98 percent compared to conventional piloted aircraft.
Paul Roberts, head of corporate affairs at SA Power Networks, said: "The business was developing the drones in 30 warehouses with 30 trained pilots, which were already capable of performing limited visual "on-site" missions.
Roberts said: “Drones have proven effective in many of our operations. We believe that the full value of drones in increasing the safety of our people and improving our efficiency will be provided by BVLOS capability.
"This trial will help demonstrate the value of BVLOS to Australian aviation authorities, who currently do not approve the use of over-the-horizon drones."
The successful integration of 4.9G/5G modems into the Carbonix drone communication system results in greater redundancy, greater bandwidth, greater coverage and lower costs for acquiring real-time data from drones involved in long-range BVLOS operations.
Rob McCabe, head of Nokia's enterprise division in Australia and New Zealand, said: "The company's systems are being developed at the local 5G industry incubation lab".
Van der Burg said: “BVLOS certification is a prerequisite for long-range UAV missions, enabling more efficient collection of critical data, which enables better and preventive measures to increase safety for all stakeholders".