Drones: EDP Labelec's new product

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Drones: EDP Labelec's new product

Tuesday 08, March 2016

The presentation session of the project developed between EDP Labelec and INESC TEC Porto took place on February 5th

Drones: EDP LABELEC's new solution for power grid asset inspection.

Drones were developed for asset analysis - electrical substations, overhead lines and wind generators - in an innovative new fashion, thanks to its autonomous flight capabilities that doesn't rely on human intervention while the inspection operation is underway.

These unmanned aerial vehicles can be classified as fixed wing - similar to airplanes - or rotary wing - similar to helicopters or multicopters. The first ones are designed to cover long distances and high payload, while the latter ones have greater maneuverability and ability to make flights adapted to specific stationary asset inspection.

EDP Labelec developed a solution based on rotary-wing, in partnership with INESC TEC Porto, to match the specific needs of the EDP Group's assets.

According to Vítor Tomás, EDP Labelec's CEO, these Drones have, on one hand "autonomous flight capabilities that are previously planned and scheduled, with no need for human intervention during the inspection flight", as well as a "smart capacity to collect detailed information points, regardless of malfunctions or non-compliant situations" that are identified during the operation.

EDP Labelec's Drone uses various types of sensors to perform the asset inspection:

  • Laser inspection (LiDAR): determination of critical distances and 3D mapping;
  • Thermographic inspection: detection of overheatings;
  • UV inspection: corona effect detection;
  • Visual inspection: record and identification of faults in electrical parts and structures

In 2015, numerous test-flights were carried out on EDP Distribuição assets (electrical substations and overhead lines) and EDP Renováveis assets (wind turbines) in order to assess EDP Labelec's Drone potential.

Presentation session

The new drone model was presented at a session held on February 5th at Sacavém, on EDP Labelec's headquarters. The session was attended by several stakeholders involved on this project.

The presentation event closed with a demonstration flight around REN's communications tower.

Watch EDP Labelec's Drone video by clicking on the following link: