Drone Pilot JobsNow, drones to mend power lines

November 16, 2021by helo-10

City firm designs drones with robotic arms, cameras to be used for inspection of transmission towers

Drones can take pictures, videos, transport vaccines and drop munitions too. Soon, we are likely to have drones taking up complex repairs or maintenance of high-power transmission towers and lines with help of a robotic arm. This particular giant drone can also be fitted with a sophisticated gyroscope camera for panoramic 360 degree view to distances as far as 14 km for surveillance purposes, useful for security forces.

A city-based firm ‘HC Robotics’ is in the final stages of configuring the robotic arm with the drone while pilot project was done for TSTransco in the inspection of three power lines and 10 towers and also in identifying faults at Shivarampally-Gachibowli, Sangareddy and Warangal.

“We should be going in for full-scale production of these drones within the next few months. We have also obtained a patent for the product in US,” informed founder and president Venkat Chundi, in an exclusive interaction on Tuesday.

Repair and maintenance of power transmission towers is a risky business as they need to be cleaned of ash, dust or bird nests and droppings, lest they snap or short-circuit. In US, they make use of helicopters with a person shooting the water jet sitting precariously outside the chopper on a makeshift platform.

“Here, power sector authorities make use of fire engines in places where there are thermal plants to remove ash and dust. With our drones we can clean and detect faults accurately and efficiently with the aid of AI-based image process technology. These can be remotely operated or pre-programmed to do the job,” he explained.

The firm has also just acquired a manufacturing licence for Gyro Stabilized Gimbal’ controlled EOIR – electro-optical/infrared cameras with thermal and visual sensors with technology sourced from a French firm ‘Merio’. “We plan to make these sophisticated cameras under the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. We have different cameras suited to different circumstances with reach up to 14 km. These can be attached to drones and helicopters,” adds director P. Radhakishore.

Some of the products have been showcased to the defence authorities and the firm has a partnership with IIIT- Design & Manufacturing Kurnool, for research collaboration on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A technocrat for the last three decades, Mr. Venkat’s bread and butter business is in telecom engineering services through his ‘Centillion Networks” with 500 plus engineers and projects across the globe. With new age drones and cameras which have a “huge business” potential, he is confident of upscaling his business in the years ahead.

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There is more to being a drone pilot than just buying a machine and flying in your backyard. It can be that simple, but most of us will need to understand some drone laws before we try to take to the sky.


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