Developing a power infrastructure inspection platform: a PowerDrone collaboration

In an ever-evolving world, businesses require innovative solutions to thrive in their respective industries. In this case study, we’ll explore the collaboration between Dreamix and PowerDrone – a company that successfully identified a niche in the market and harnessed the potential of drone technology for a specific purpose. PowerDrone aims to simplify the complex task […]

December 18, 2023

3 min read

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In an ever-evolving world, businesses require innovative solutions to thrive in their respective industries. In this case study, we’ll explore the collaboration between Dreamix and PowerDrone – a company that successfully identified a niche in the market and harnessed the potential of drone technology for a specific purpose. PowerDrone aims to simplify the complex task of inspecting hard-to-reach energy infrastructure and classifying assets. After careful market and business analysis, PowerDrone decided to partner up with Dreamix and create a multi-tenant platform where clients can inspect their power supply infrastructure. 

PowerDrone: a revolution in power line inspections

Power lines need regular, careful inspections to ensure electricity gets safely delivered. Energy infrastructure is often hard to reach and/ or difficult to approach safely. Traditional inspection methods – such as on-foot technicians, helicopters, or industrial climbers – are expensive, time-consuming, potentially hazardous, and still tend to result in insufficient data. 

PowerDrone was founded with a mission: bring safety and efficiency to the inspection of power line grids and electric infrastructure. The innovative enterprise was founded in 2015, and quickly went on to demonstrate the value of automated drone inspections to major utility companies and energy providers. Automated drone inspections prove to detect up to 4x as many issues as traditional methods. Today, PowerDrone has inspected thousands of kilometers of power lines, and is a major player in the region’s electric inspection industry. 

The Challenge

PowerDrone drone operators take large numbers of pictures of energy infrastructure, and those pictures need to be processed. 

As the company grew, taking in larger and higher-profile projects, they identified the possibility of using the latest technological advances to automate parts of the process. By investing in a new modernised platform, PowerDrone could offer a more effective service, reduce service&operational expenses, and increase its competitive advantage. 

The Dreamix Solution 

The project started with a validation phase. PowerDrone provided the Dreamix team with a large number of drone images along with the results of their manual processing. Dreamix engineers helped develop machine learning algorithms and models that could be used to automate several crucial aspects of image processing.

Having validated the idea, PowerDrone and Dreamix worked together to develop a comprehensive platform for generating and processing power grid inspection results. The Python-based solution combines computer vision models for automated asset classification and identification with algorithms for managing GPS coordinates associated with each image. 

The platform uses the following tech stack: 

  • Tensorflow AI to develop machine learning algorithms and models, automating asset classification and identification
  • Python serves as the system’s back-end
  • PostgreSQL database to store data generated by the TensorFlow models
  • Fast API to handle data exchange, process requests, and manage interactions with the PostgreSQL database
  • Keycloak to manage user authentication, ensure secure access to the platform, and make sure only authorized personnel can access inspection data and results
  • Angular as the front-end framework, used to provide an accessible user interface for PowerDrone operators, analysts and clients

As the partnership progressed, the two companies identified a way to process more types of image data in different domains, using advanced ML models. The solution can use images from drones and locomotive-mounted cameras to detect railway infrastructure issues before they cause service interruptions. 

The Results

The collaboration between PowerDrone and Dreamix has resulted in a comprehensive data generation and analysis platform with a number of in-demand features. 

Automated grid generation: The system converts images drone operators upload into GPS-accurate power line routes.

Advanced image filtering and clustering: The platform can filter images and grid points based on a large number of specific criteria, using advanced grouping algorithms. In turn, that enables informed decision-making for PowerDrone’s clients. 

Comprehensive issue reporting options: The platform supports a broad range of options for annotating damages and issues, based on regulation-standard checklists for power line inspections.

As a whole, PowerDrone’s new platform greatly enhances the efficiency of maintenance teams. 

It gives energy service providers and their maintenance teams much clearer visibility over their power grids and any potential issues that may be affecting them. Consequently, PowerDrone can offer its clients features such as targeted issue identification and preventive maintenance insights, allowing for an informed approach that saves time and resources. 

Last but not least, the partnership between PowerDrone and Dreamix is one of shared values. PowerDrone is bringing cutting-edge technological innovation to a sector primed for progress, and Dreamix is proud to be contributing to such a goal. 

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