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Power failures as result of trees falling on power lines, cracks in isolators and parts that have come loose, can be detected early with drone technology. Power lines have traditionally been inspected by helicopter, without advanced analysis of the data that are obtained. An innovative drone utilizes image recognition technologies to inspect and find failures in the distribution network. The system has the capacity to analyze 100,000 images per hour and applies artificial intelligence to detect common sources of failure. The system features automatic detection of masts, insulators, objects on powerlines, and more.

Connected Drone by the Norway-based eSmart System is being developed in collaboration with 12 Norwegian distribution network operators representing a third of the 345,000 km power grid. This amounts to 120,000 kilometers of power lines from Troms in the north to Kragerø in the south of Norway, according to stories.kongsberg.com.

Half of the 12 companies are now using Connected Drone, and the rest are expected to follow suit before long. Connected Drone was also used in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricane Irma that devastated Florida. With the aid of technology from eSmart Systems, Jacksonville Electric Authority was able to restore power significantly faster to the affected households. The use of drones made the job much safer for the recovery teams that were out in the field after the hurricane.