THRUST UAV Systems uses AI to revolutionize electrical wire inspection

published on
February 8, 2024

Overhead electricity lines in the EU reach a staggering length of 5.3 million kilometers. These lines need to be regularly inspected & maintained to ensure a reliable electricity supply. Currently, inspections are performed by walking inspection crews or helicopters, which are both heavily resource and climate intensive.

Indrė Urbanavičiūtė, the Chief Innovation Officer at THRUST Intelligent UAV Systems, believes her company has a more efficient solution. “Owing to our high capacity, long endurance THRUST UAVs (25 kg MTOM), we have amassed high-quality comprehensive aerial imagery of various types of electricity power lines, which we employ for training of our cutting edge deep learning models,”  Urbanavičiūtė explains. “This enables an unprecedented broad scope of AI-based analytics functionality: from detection of dangerous objects within the clearing area, to indication of missing, fractured, deformed, corroded, or otherwise defective infrastructure elements.”

THRUST-AID UAV "GreenBee" that is used for multisensor aerial data acquisition

In addition to providing new aerial inspection systems, THRUST also aims to innovate in the area of AI technology: “Existing AI-based power line defect detection solutions typically focus on a single type of energy infrastructure or have a limited scope of detectable defects due to the lack of training materials and/or inability to gather multi-sensor data in high resolution.”

In order to develop robust deep learning models capable of detecting small and rare defects, extensive real world datasets are essential. “Our in-house THRUST UAVs facilitate the on-demand acquisition of multisensor ultra high-resolution data from the power grid, utilized for model training,” Urbanavičiūtė says. “When used for routine aerial inspections, THRUST-AID system functions as both a reactive and proactive tool, providing predictive and preventive maintenance capabilities.”

THRUST aims to transform the electricity grid diagnostics market by eliminating highly inefficient manual data analytics, setting new standards for inspection quality, accuracy, and speed. 

Find out more about THRUST UAV Systems here and follow them on Linkedin here!

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