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Flying Assistants

Unmanned drones will make Austria's power supply even more reactive and secure.

In progress

Fast response through innovation

Whether it's a fault in an unmanned substation, an avalanche on a high-alpine power line or inspections of electricity pylons and substations - more and more tasks have to be mastered by APG's operations teams. In order to be able to complete all these tasks quickly and efficiently, APG relies on the support of flying assistants, the drones. Equipped with cameras and sensors, drones can be controlled remotely or automatically fly predefined routes. APG has been using flying assistants for various purposes for years and is currently working on three exciting use cases, among others:

BVLOS drone flights in substations

A new innovative drone technology will enable APG to carry out fully automated inspections via drones in the future. These so-called "drone hubs" are intelligent take-off and landing platforms from which drones can be launched, landed and recharged remotely at the touch of a button. With specially equipped cameras (IR, UV, etc.), these drones can then automatically fly a situation-specific flight route and carry out inspections. The elimination of travelling times for inspection teams means that fault inspections can be carried out quickly in both occupied and unoccupied substations at almost any time of day or night.

BVLOS drone flights for fault inspections along power lines

The idea of using drones to inspect faults along a high-voltage power line is not new, but the realisation of a drone flight "Beyond Visual Line of Sight" (BVLOS) over a distance of more than 100 km was a first in Austrian aviation history. On the one hand, the technical possibilities such as the range of the winged drone and its sensors were tested. On the other hand, important experience was also gained in the organisational and official handling of such a BVLOS flight. After a large number of flights, the conclusion was reached that the use of BVLOS drones for fault inspections on power lines in difficult-to-access terrain such as steep slopes or mountains makes the most sense. APG is therefore working to ensure that BVLOS drones will be able to provide a quick overview of natural disasters such as avalanches or mudslides in the future.

Automated mast inspections via drone

Rust can form on our transmission masts over the years due to adverse weather conditions. As part of revitalisation measures, our masts are protected from wind and weather with a double layer of corrosion protection. This work is not only very time-consuming, but also requires the line to be switched off for safety reasons. In future, quality control of the coating work will therefore be carried out by means of automated mast inspections using a drone. An automatic spiral flight route is used to take high-resolution images of the mast, which are processed by an AI to create a 3D model. This model can then be scrutinised by corrosion experts.

Contact person


Florian Harold

Wagramer Straße 19 (IZD-Tower)
1220 Wien


Paul Japek

Wagramer Straße 19 (IZD-Tower)
1220 Wien

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