The gas and power lines have so far been mostly checked by helicopter. A company from Schwechat is now combining drone flight with the use of artificial intelligence. Gas Connect Austria is now testing it in a pilot project.
Infrastructure such as gas and electricity lines, but also railway lines are the backbone of every country. So far, these have been monitored by helicopters, but in the future Schwecht will take on drones from the company Bladescape (Brück an der Leitha district) – a high-tech device that, depending on the installed sensors, could cost several 100,000 euros. Is.
Long-distance gas pipeline operator Gas Connect Austria is now testing inspections of its network using drones in collaboration with technology company and aviation authority Austro Control. Unmanned aerial vehicle systems should enable accurate and reliable inspection of pipeline routes.
successful pilot flight
At the premiere on Wednesday, a drone equipped with a parachute and automatic obstacle detection completed a half-hour demo flight along the West-Austria gas pipeline in the Baumgarten section (Ganserdorf district) – Ebisbrunn (Mistelbach district). Baumgarten is one of the largest natural gas centers in Europe. The Gas Connect Austria network is approximately 900 km long.
For the most part, the drone flies completely independently. It can fly for three hours without smell and noise, says Gerhard Peller, managing director of Bladescape: “We almost never fly our plane manually, it’s a pre-programmed waypoint flight, meaning that we know about the corner points of the route, and the region is scanned accordingly.”
Thanks to artificial intelligence, which evaluates this vast amount of data, you can focus on the points that are suspicious, says Stefan Wegenhofer, managing director of Gas Connect Austria: “It’s an automated assessment through those programs. which then recognizes special features and changes and makes it much easier for crews to see not only certain points of flight.”
As a result, hazards can be identified before they become a problem, such as rotten branches hanging on power lines, according to the pilot flight. In any case, the use of drones will increase significantly in the coming years – even in areas such as police or agriculture.
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