Sharper Shape Inc., a provider of drone-based inspections, has announced that its new automatic detail inspection (ADI) service is now available for commercial use by electric utilities.
Having completed field trials, the ADI service is available as a complete end-to-end inspection package, or, rather, companies can use their own aircraft and personnel and use Sharper Shape’s ADI “Drone Software as A Service” to maximize the efficiency of their in-house drone operations.
To begin the inspection process, Sharper Shape’s ADI flight planner software automatically creates accurate 3D models of powerlines by using LiDAR data. The software uses this geospatial data to create optimized routes for automatically inspecting utility assets. DJI drones autonomously follow these flight paths to capture images of insulators, wire connections and other critical components at a close range and from multiple angles. Finally, the images are uploaded to Sharper Shape’s cloud-based inspector application, which provides a platform for utility personnel to review field data.
“Our new ADI service really minimizes the effort required to capture all the data needed to completely analyze the health of a utility system and to target the problem areas,” says Paul Frey, Sharper Shape’s vice president of sales. “UAS field crews can get a lot more done each day, with much more predictable and repeatable results.”
Even though the ADI service is initially being targeted for use in the electric transmission and distribution markets, the company is working on introducing the applications into a
wider range of industrial inspection applications.
“There really is no reason our automatic flight operations and inspection software can’t be equally effective when working on cell phone towers, wind turbines or many other critical industrial assets,” says Ilkka Hiidenheimo, Sharper Shape’s CEO.
Sharper Shape has U.S. offices in North Dakota and Maryland, as well as an international research and development facility near Helsinki, Finland. The company’s full stack of unmanned aircraft, sensor systems and software services has been developed specifically to meet the needs of the electric transmission and distribution industry.