Autonomous power line detection and tracking system using UAVs

Oscar Bowen Schofield*, Nicolai Iversen, Emad Ebeid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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A large portion of overhead power transmission infrastructure around the world is becoming aged, raising the demand for frequent grid inspections in an efficient, cost-effective manner in order to keep it functional. Drones are a promising solution for infrastructure inspection, however, they require further investigation and development to enable their autonomy for large scale inspection operations. This paper proposes a drone framework based on open-source platforms for autonomous inspection of electrical grid infrastructure. The framework incorporates (1) a cloud service for geo-location data of nearby power pylons; (2) a localisation system for pylon navigation and cable grasping; and (3) a cable following algorithm for cable inspection using onboard sensors. The software functionality of the proposed framework has been validated in a simulation power line environment. Custom drones have been developed for validating the framework and algorithms within an unenergised power line environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104609
JournalMicroprocessors and Microsystems
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Autonomous missions
  • Cloud services
  • Detection algorithms
  • Drone framework
  • Powerline inspection


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