Drone searches for damage to gas pipelines

Drone searches for damage to gas pipelines

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Gas and electric lines were mostly checked by helicopter. A company in Schwechat is now integrating drone flight with the use of artificial intelligence. Gas Connect Austria is now testing this in a pilot project.

Infrastructure such as gas and electricity lines, as well as railways are the backbone of every country. So far, these have been monitored by a helicopter, but in the future they will take over by drones from the company Schwechat Bladescape (Bruck an der Leitha) – a high-tech device that can cost several hundred thousand euros, depending on the installed sensors.

Austrian long-distance gas pipeline operator GasConnect is now testing its network using drones in collaboration with technology company and aviation authority Ostro Control. Unmanned aerial vehicle systems should enable accurate and reliable inspection of pipeline routes.

Successful test flight

At the premiere on Wednesday, a drone with a parachute and automatic obstacle detection completed a half-hour test flight along the Austrian West Gas Pipeline in the Baumgarten (Gaenserndorf region) – Eibesbrunn (Mistelbach region) section. Baumgarten is one of the largest natural gas centers in Europe. The Gas Connect Austria network is approximately 900 kilometers long.

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In the future, the drone will be able to detect damage to gas and power lines from the air

For the most part, the drone flies completely autonomously. It can fly for up to three hours without odor and noise, says Gerhard Beller, managing director of Bladescape. region accordingly.

Targeted troubleshooting

Thanks to artificial intelligence, which evaluates such a large amount of data, you can focus on those suspicious points, adds Stefan Wagenhofer, Managing Director of Gas Connect Austria: “This allows automated assessment via software that then learns about special features and changes and makes it easier to The staff is not just looking at certain points of the trip.”

As a result, hazards can be identified before they become a problem, such as rotten branches hanging over power lines, according to the pilot’s flight. In any case, the use of drones will increase dramatically in the coming years – also in areas such as policing or agriculture.

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