Transmission line survey using LiDAR for drones system

Posted on September 16, 2019 in UAV LiDAR and Utilities

LiDAR for drones use case by Rekon Solutions

Watch the video as Routescene customer Rekon Solutions Inc set up and fly their UAV LiDAR System on their drone. The survey took place at Silver Star Mountain in British Columbia, Canada. The objective was to undertake a conductor, vegetation and ground clearance survey of transmission lines for inspection purposes.

Project interview

We interviewed Vashaun Henderson, Director of Rekon Solutions Inc., about his experience undertaking this survey.

Q1. How long did it take to prepare the site?

“It took about 3 hours to prepare the site and set up the equipment. We established Ground Control Points (GCPs) before we were ready to fly. The flight went perfectly, the Routescene LidarPod, the UAV and all systems operated as they should.”

Q2. What did you have to consider before take-off?

“When planning the flight we had to consider the drone take-off and landing site and the proximity of it to the powerline. A 230kV powerline has a magnetic field that can disrupt the normal operation of compasses, this could affect the flight systems of the UAV. We also had to consider wind, altitude and temperature which all affect how well the drone and UAV LiDAR System will operate. Winds need to be below 28kph, altitude below 6500ft and the temperature below 40 degree C and above -10 degree C.”

Q3. How easy was it to process the data?

“To produce a point cloud from the Routescene LidarPod takes minutes with the right computer hardware. From there we take the point cloud into a third party software to classify points and analyze clearances.”

Q4. Were you able to view the data on-site?

“Before we left the site, using a laptop we were able to download the .lpd file and view the results of the survey.”

Q5. What do you like about about Routescene’s UAV LiDAR System and LidarViewer Pro?

“The speed that the data can be downloaded from the LidarPod into LidarViewer Pro and generated as a point cloud is so much faster and more accurate than other survey methods like photogrammetry. Photogrammetry involves heavy processing and it takes a long time to produce a point cloud. And also photogrammetry does not have the ability to produce Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) on sites where vegetation covers the ground, which we can do using the our UAV LiDAR System and LidarViewer Pro.”

Q6. How did the Routescene LidarPod perform?

“The LidarPod performed well by providing a dense and accurate point cloud representing the conductor, towers, vegetation and ground.”

Q7. What are the benefits of LiDAR for drones systems for power line inspections?

“In our experience, inspection of powerlines using a UAV with a LiDAR system payload can save the client up to 40% when compared to the conventional helicopter-based powerline inspection process. Whilst saving money the client also receives a richer dataset. Using a UAV LiDAR system the powerline needs to be accessible by vehicle and the UAV survey will take 5 to 6 times as long as the conventional helicopter method.”

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