Apr 2013
Electricity Transmission
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
Apr 2013
National Grid Electricity System Operator
National Grid TO Innovation Team
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Innovation Funding Incentive
Health and Safety
Pilot-less surveillance drones would certainly reduce the risk of pilot fatality and environmental impact of aerial surveillance and should also reduce the cost. The questions are whether they would be permitted to fly by air traffic control; and whether they can provide effective surveillance.
The project aims to realise the following objectives:

  • To investigate whether a UAV is capable of carrying out the same tasks as a manned helicopter for observing and inspecting overhead lines.

  • The drivers behind this project are to: Reduce costs for asset inspection by reducing the £/flight hour. Increase safety of inspection activities through reducing the amount of time pilots need to be in the air. Increase the number of assets accessible to aerial surveillance and increasing the number of available flight days through the ability to fly lower light conditions and poor weather. Increase mobility through the ability to transport the UAV close to the lines.

  • If phase one gives positive results further work will investigate the testing/trialling and implementation of the UAV's and analyse of data showing how they could be useful to National Grid.

  • The final objective of this project would be to have a UAV completely autonomous using GPS to track lines/pipes recording data which is downloaded and analysed. With the ability of a manual override so the operator can investigate faults and potential faults further.