A 5G solution for real-time drone monitoring of New South Wales utility Endeavour Energy’s distribution network is under development.
The solution will combine 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence and drone technology equipped with ultra-high definition (UHD) cameras to monitor the physical state of infrastructure assets on the electricity grid.
Video content captured from the drones and UHD cameras mounted on utility vehicles will be streamed live via 5G to enable real-time visual insights and notifications of faults or equipment replacement requirements on the network infrastructure.
Endeavour Energy is collaborating on the development with telco provider Optus, Amazon Web Services and AI solution provider Unleash live.
Optus claims the fastest 5G network in Australia.
Analysis of the video content will be undertaken on Unleash live’s AI platform. The solution will leverage Amazon Kinesis to collect and process large streams of visual data in real-time. The solution also uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to provide secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud, and Amazon Simple Storage Service to store and retrieve the data.
“Finding a better way to deliver a safe, reliable and sustainable electricity supply is in our DNA,” comments Endeavour Energy’s Chief Customer and Strategy Officer Leanne Pickering.
“By bringing together new technology with essential infrastructure services we are accelerating the transition to a modern grid and keeping downward pressure on our portion of customers’ electricity bills.”
Endeavour Energy’s electricity distribution network spans 47,000km of power lines, 500,000 power poles and 32,000 substations across Sydney’s Greater West, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, the Illawarra and the South Coast of New South Wales.
On-site inspections are currently conducted by engineers utilising a large fleet of vehicles, helicopters and a team of technicians to physically identify and carry out remediation.
The Au$648,000 (US$465,000) project is being funded by the Australian Federal Government’s latest 5G innovation initiative.
The initial trial period will monitor Endeavour Energy’s infrastructure assets across Penrith and Blacktown in New South Wales.
Endeavour Energy is not the first utility to look to 5G for network monitoring. Another that has is the Spanish multinational Naturgy, which is exploiting 5G for another used case – for navigation for beyond line of sight flight.