Finnish Company Demonstrates Benefits of UAV Utility Inspections

Posted by Betsy Lillian on January 09, 2015 No Comments
Categories : Utilities

Sharper Shape, a Helsinki, Finland-based supplier of drone-based automated asset inspection and maintenance planning services, has demonstrated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with advanced sensors in public test flights.

The flights were part of a completed research project conducted with the Electricity Research Pool at Finnish Energy Industries. The aim of the study was to demonstrate the technical viability and cost-efficiency of drone-based inspections, which allow data to be collected for identifying and mitigating risks in power distribution.

Sharper Shape’s robotic copter is equipped with a laser scanner, cameras and aviaton safety systems and has the capability for long-distance beyond visual line of sight inspection flights. The laser scanner maps the terrain and forms an accurate 3D model of the components of the power network, as well as of the surrounding buildings, forest and vegetation.

The public test flights were conducted with the presence of independent energy sector analyst Jouko Tervo (Reneco Consulting Ltd.) and several utilities as observers to the study. The test team has estimated 50% reductions in aerial inspection costs by using UAVs.

“Our sharp-minded drones collect the same information that earlier required the use of a full-size manned helicopter. Thanks to our application, the power line inspections can be done more easily, faster and more cost-efficiently in the future,” says Tero Heinonen, founder of Sharper Shape.

The company has also announced a EUR 1 million (approximately $1.2 million) investment from Vision+. The bridge funding will help Sharper Shape accelerate its growth through new hires and financing new customer opportunities. The company also plans to complete a series A equity funding in the first half of the year.

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