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Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS)

Unmanned drones: making Austria’s electricity supply more responsive, for a secure future.

In progress

Fast responses through innovation

Unforeseeable weather events such as storms can cause high-voltage networks to malfunction and switch off automatically. To make sure there’s is no damage, power lines must be tested before they can be put back online. Depending on the length of the line and the malfunction, it can take several hours before APG personnel arrive, during which time the power grid is lacking valuable transmission line capacity. The use of UAVs is intended to shorten this response time. Detection of a malfunction automatically triggers a drone to fly along the line to the fault location to inspect it. The flight path is determined by the GPS coordinates of the transmission pylons and programmed in before the drone takes off. As soon as it’s in the air, the drone follows the programmed flight path, making automatic course corrections and height adjustments. A high-resolution camera pointing toward the ground automatically photographs the power lines as the drone flies over them and sends the images back to the base station for analysis. The images are then immediately analysed by APG specialists for more efficient troubleshooting.  

Pioneers of Austrian aviation

Together with partners, APG made aviation history in 2019 as the first European company to successfully complete an authorised, unmanned BVLOS flight.  

We expect ongoing system development to help reduce the time needed to bring systems back online, especially after weather-related outages. Our vision is to have unmanned aerial vehicles ready to take off at any time after an incident. The system can also be used to conduct regular flyover inspections.  

The backbone of Austrian power supply

With a total system length of approximately 7,000 km, the APG transmission grid forms the backbone of the power supply in Austria. However, the operation of transmission networks is becoming increasingly complex as energy transition puts more and more pressure on the power grid. Transmission lines must have a high level of availability if they are to continue to reliably transport large volumes of electricity. APG is working to master these challenges with the help of innovations such as unmanned drones.  

The first of its kind, the BVLOS project aims to test unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at distances outside the visual range of the pilot. This involves using light, propeller-driven fixed-wing drones with wingspans of three to four metres for flights of up to 100 km.  


metres Wingspan


kg Maximum weight at take off


km/hour Maximum speed

approx. 60

minutes Flight time

Contact person

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Paul Zachoval

Project lead

Wagramer Straße 19 (IZD-Tower)
1220 Wien

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