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TPDDL first in India to use drones for network maintenance

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 24, 2019  | 21:43 IST

New Delhi, Jul 24 (PTI) Power discom of the national capital, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL), has become the first power utility in the country to deploy micro drones for the maintenance of its network. Small-sized drones, weighing less than 2 kg, with a flying capacity of below 200 feet are being used by the discom to patrol 66 and 33 KV transmission lines in north and north west Delhi areas. "With this project, we are exploring and developing the applicability of drones in power distribution sector. Usage of drones for maintenance will not only help us reduce the downtime, but also give us better insights for future projects," TPDDL CEO Sanjay Banga said. The drones are equipped with integrated thermal vision camera to render infrared radiations, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) capability to measure distances with the use of laser lights, and high resolution camera for electrical asset inspection. The monitoring and mapping of the drones is manoeuvred through their GPS-enabled autopilot system by a ground control station. Banga said drone usage will have wide application in the years to come and reinforce TPDDL's credentials as a "future ready utility". The discom is regularly using the drones for maintenance purposes after a successful pilot run last year, a TPDDL spokesperson said. The drones are being used for maintenance of the discom's power lines, poles and towers. Their usage will provide faster, better and more accurate service resolutions, he said. The spokesperson said permission to use such drones has been taken from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and police authorities. "The drones are being used to capture close-up, detailed imagery of the installations, scan potential defects for the help of maintenance personnel and to capture tower and pole images from various angles, giving a fuller picture, which is often not possible with other inspection methods," he said. The drones are also helping in monitoring of conductor sag, vegetation management, having top view of pole and towers, solar panel inspection, infrared inspection for hot spots, monitoring of circuit, identification of any abnormalities (bird nests) or defects with equipment. Besides, they are being used to determine if anyone is encroaching on the power lines along with thermal inspection at grids, the TPDDL spokesperson added. PTI VIT BUN SRY

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