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The Application and Prospect of UAV in the Field of Power Inspection

Views: 73     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-05-28      Origin: Site


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1. Application Background

The inspection of transmission power lines is an important task that the power grid operation and maintenance management department needs to carry out. In order to ensure the safe operation of the power line, it is necessary to conduct regular inspections on the line to detect and eliminate potential safety hazards timely. With the increasing number of high-voltage, high-power and long-distance transmission power lines, the geographical environment of the lines crossing is becoming more and more complex such as crossing large-scale reservoirs, lakes and mountains. As a result, the daily maintenance work is becoming more and more difficult. So the traditional labor-based inspection mode has been hardly to meet the development needs due to poor inspection results and low work efficiency.

UAV Video Transmitter

Utilizing drones to inspect high-voltage power lines is highly efficient and unaffected by geography. The drone platform is equipped with a COFDM image transmission system to enable 100km range inspection and transmit the inspection video to the COFDM receiver in real time. At the same time, the COFDM transmission system also supports MAVLINK Telemetry for simultaneous transmission of bidirectional serial data and high definition video.

Equipped with 3D radar scanning system, it can quickly obtain the accurate three-dimensional coordinates of the power line corridor and analyze the defects such as tree barriers and crossovers in the line channel in combination with the relevant operating rules and provide data support for the safe operation and maintenance service. UAV Radar and long-distance video transmission inspections have become the main means of power line inspection.

2. Equipment on Board

FIM-2450: 50km HD video and Bi-directional data radio links

FIM-2450 long range drone video transmitter system is based on TDD-COFDM technology with 2Watts RF Power for 50km range video transmission. With H.264+H.265 video encoding technology, its end to end latency is 50ms. Frequency range 2.3hz/2.4/2.5Ghz two option for different environment application for LOS and NLOS range transmission.

Drone Video Transmitters

Key Features

Low Latency

Ultra low latency of video transmission: the total latency from mirror to mirror could be less than 33ms.

1.Each frame is encoded to nearly same size hence no additional latency in wireless channel caused by large I frame.

2.ultra fast decoding to display engine.  

3.CABAC entropy encoding, high compression rate hence high video quality at low bitrate

Video & Serial Digital Data Link

Video transmission and bi-directional serial data communication in one wireless channel to save bandwidth and frequency resource, and reduce possible interference with other wireless devices

Mini size & Light Weight

Dimension and weight of all products are small and light with very low power consumption due to the elegant RF/PCB and case co-design. For example, network video transmission device could be as light as 60g, HDMI video transmission device could be 93g.

wireless communication system

Problems and solution during application

As a wireless transmitter, it is inevitable that it will be affected by the environment or other factors such as weather and obstructions during application process.

1. What effect will rain, snow or other bad weather have on wireless video radio links?

Video transmitters are often used outdoors, so bad weather, such as wind, rain, snow etc., have a certain impact on signal transmission. But if it is light snow or light rain, it will not have much impact on it as long as it is stably fixed and the direction of the antenna is not biased by the snowstorm.

2. How to deal with barriers during transmission?

Drone video transmitter and receiver uses microwaves for signal transmission. The microwave transmission path is transmitted along a straight line so there should be no obstacles between the transmitter and the receiver. However if you are using the 800Mhz FPM-8416 and FIP-8416(10-16km Drone Video and Bi-directional Data Links), a small amount of obstacles will not affect the signal transmission quality. But if there are big obstacles, the following three methods must be used.

1.Avoid obstructions

A common method is to increase the mounting height of the receiving antenna or move the receiving end to another place until there is no obstruction between two ends.


Set up a relay with no obstructions between the transmitter and receiver, then add two devices to receive the signal from the transmitter and send to the receiver.

3.Increasing drone vertical fly height

If the barriers are fixed and inevitable, we can increasing the uav vertical fly height to avoid the obstructions to make the Tx and Rx smooth communication with each other.

3. How to correct the direction of the transmitter and receiver?

The drone digital video link requires the antenna directions of the transmitter and receiver to be aligned with each other to enable video and digital serial data signal transmission. If the directions of the antennas at both ends are incorrect, the signal cannot be transmitted. When the distance is a few hundred meters, you can directly align with your hand and refer to the strength indicator of the device. The higher the signal value, the more accurate the direction.

Drone Video Transmitter

However, if the distance is not visible to the human eye, the positioning system can be used to query the latitude and longitude of the equipment at both ends, and then adjust the Tx and Rx direction. That is the most common and practical method at present.

4. The difference between directional antenna and omnidirectional antenna

The coverage of the directional antenna can only be effective over the angle range of the antenna such as a directional antenna with 60 degrees. Then its coverage is 60 degrees area ahead. The coverage of  omnidirectional antenna is 360 degrees. In the application of drones, omnidirectional antennas are more suitable because the flight direction of drones in the sky is variable. By the way tracking antennas or directional antennas with large angles can also achieve good results.

3. The Application of UAV in Power Line Inspection

UAV high-voltage wire inspection refers to the use of drones carrying cameras, infrared sensors and wireless video transmission equipment to check whether the high-voltage wires have poor contact, leakage, overheating or tree barriers, large mechanical construction and other external damage.

The long-range video transmitter carried by the unmanned aircraft transmits the signals of the visible light and infrared cameras to the screen of the monitoring ground for analysis. The inspection mission can be performed by two people. One person control the plane and the other one monitor the screen. When a suspicious section is found, the drone can be hovered or flew back and forth for further checking. Real-time monitoring and recording can be performed simultaneously for video analysis after the drone flies back.

4. Prospect of UAV Application in Power Grid Enterprises

Although the advantage of drone inspection is outstanding, it has won the favor of power companies. However, at present, there is still room for further optimization of this type of inspection.

Endurance ability. Endurance has always been a pain point for the UAV industry. Will batteries with more endurance in the future appear, or will they be relayed to solve this problem?

The deep integration of artificial intelligence and drones. How to promote the integration of artificial intelligence technology and drone inspection? How to use artificial intelligence technology to analyze data and improve the ability of intelligent inspection and image, speech recognition and analysis of inspection drones?

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