In the joint project ‘ROM(EO)’ within the framework of the PARSEC accelerator program, long-range drone manufacturer FuVeX and satellite analytics company LiveEO demonstrated the value of complementing their technologies to facilitate savings in utility vegetation management and inspection.
To bring together the best of both worlds was the project’s goal. Drones and satellites both look at things from above, though from quite different altitudes. For the use case of utility vegetation management and inspection, this results in different strengths for either technology. While satellites can capture imagery covering the entire network almost instantaneously, drones deliver highly detailed imagery of particular areas of interest.
Developing a drone integration into the existing vegetation management solution of LiveEO harnesses the advantages of both technologies. At the same time, the complementary approach brings with it none of the drawbacks of the still predominant approach to vegetation monitoring, crewed helicopters, and manual inspections. These traditional methods are not only inefficient with a long turnaround but also extremely costly. Using the drone satellite combination, an estimated 90% in cost savings for line inspections is feasible.
FuVeX’s drones are especially well-suited for this type of operation. They have ranges of up to 40 km; their patented technology provides them with stability in windy weather. Also, FuVeX has received the first authorization in Spain to perform Beyond Visual Line Of Sight drone operations over powerlines. “At FuVeX, we are working to fully automate powerline inspections using long-range drones. For us, it is a pleasure to collaborate with other companies like LiveEO to disrupt the utility management sector”, states Carlos Matilla, co-founder and CEO of FuVeX.
LiveEO’s market-leading satellite-based vegetation management solution is in use with electric utilities around the globe. The accuracy provided by high-resolution satellite imagery has proven to be sufficient for most applications. However, for particularly risky or highly regulated segments, some utilities still resort to other inspection methods. “It is great to demonstrate that our solution can generate insights not only from satellite data, for which it was originally designed, but can integrate other data sources, too. What matters to us eventually is value for our customers – and here we see potential that we will continue to explore”, concludes Daniel Seidel, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of LiveEO.