For safe and trouble-free application near power lines, the quadrocopter was put through its paces in the high voltage laboratory of the Technical University Dresden. Here it was tested for high voltage interference up to 380 kV.
If the quadrocopter is to be used in checking high voltage overhead power line installations, it must fly as close as possible to the overhead lines and masts so as to detect the smallest damage to isolators, wires and other components.
TOUGH TECHNOLOGY FOR HIGH VOLTAGE TASKS
To ensure a safe flight it is crucial that all navigation and control systems are working reliably and trouble-free. The quadrocopter is thus fitted out with multiple sensors working independently of each other: GPS, barometer, magnetometer and an inertial measuring device. All relevant telemetric data are transmitted to the ground control unit, as well as live pictures from the camera or video camera. These data links have to be working free of interferences at all times.
A test environment was created in the high voltage laboratory of the Technical University of Dresden to investigate the effect of a quadrocopter at close quarters to a high voltage power line. The quadrocopter was mounted on a navigable platform at a height of around 5 metres. Starting from a distance of 10 metres, it was moved towards a bundled conductor of 380 kV double suspension wire, coming as close as 3 metres. Through this practical experiment the influence of different electric field strengths on all sensors and control functions could be tested.
In a further follow-on experiment the influence of magnetic field strengths was examined.
The result was positive, with all systems working correctly. Thus a major prerequisite for the safe and reliable deployment of the quadrocopter in the maintenance of high voltage power lines was fulfilled.