Vienna, 24 September 2013 – Schiebel, FLIR and Transpower are proud to announce the successful demonstration of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) with the integrated FLIR Corona 350 Sensor being used to inspect high voltage power-lines and supporting structures. This event marked the first time that this new capability was demonstrated using a UAS.
Transpower with the support of the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority hosted a series of demonstrations at the Drury substation in Auckland, New Zealand, where the outstanding combination of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 and the FLIR sensor confirmed the system’s ability to identify encroaching vegetation and activity associated with under building, corrosion and wear and tear damage on power-line conductors as well as ‘hot spots’ in conductors and connection points. The system also demonstrated the clear benefits of its rapid response time, and the ability to subsequently use the collected information to quickly prioritise and target maintenance, which are particularity important in the rapid rectification of fault events causing line outages.
With a network which comprises some 12,000 kms of transmission lines and 40,000 supporting structures throughout New Zealand and a requirement to regularly assess the condition of these lines and structures to ensure continued safety and integrity of the National Grid. By operating in close proximity to the power lines the S-100 was able to conduct the inspections without infringing existing airspace regulations and clearly demonstrated the value of this new, innovative and cost effective solution for accomplishing airborne power line inspection.
Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, commented, “This successful demonstration of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 has clearly shown how it provides a swift, accurate and cost effective capability for reducing the costs associated with conducting power-line inspections and maintenance”.
Schiebel and FLIR Systems Polytec AB are proud to announce the successful integration of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) with the CORONA 350 Airborne Sensor. This successful integration marked the first time that this airborne sensor was flown on board a UAV.
The Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 has carried out a series of successful test flights in Grossmittel, Austria, to fully evaluate the combined capability of both systems. The Corona 350 is a four axis gyro-stabilized gimbal containing four different cameras including an ultraviolet camera for corona detection, a thermal imaging camera for detecting hot-spots in power lines, a visual light camera and a digital frame camera.
What makes the Corona 350 unique is its ability to overlay its ultraviolet and color TV video data to create a combined image that allows operators to detect and identify coronal discharges – areas of ionized air – that are known to damage power line insulators and other electrical components. The powerful combination of the Schiebel S-100 and the FLIR Corona 350 allows companies to carry out aerial inspections quickly and efficiently. Additionally it is the perfect method of reducing costs making it an ideal solution for utility companies to perform inspection and maintenance of transmission lines, distribution networks and substations. This application typically requires repetitive surveying of power lines and is usually carried out by manned helicopters or ground patrols at significant risk to the pilot and crew. The advantage of using the unmanned CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS over manned helicopters are that the system is uniquely capable of operating with a much lower risk, can carry advanced sensors for increased stand-off distance, is significantly quieter than manned helicopters and can operate for up to 10 hours per mission and in line of site ranges out to 200 kms. The unmanned CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS is also significantly lower cost per hour to run compared to manned aviation systems due to the much higher insurance and safety margins required for manned aircraft to operate in this very dangerous environment.
The Kelvin 350 and Corona 350 series are 35 cm (14”) gimbals housing the infrared core from the FLIR Systems 660 series of infrared cameras, a HD or SD daylight video camera, and a high resolution digital still frame camera. Gimbal weight varies between 24.5 to 27 kg (54 to 59.5 lbs) depending on payload selection.
4 axis active stabilization
The design is four axis active gyro-stabilized based upon very low drift fiber-optic gyroscopes and a digital servo motor control system and a patented two axis linear isolator. This unique design offers outstanding stability ensuring easy steering and accurate imaging independent of aircraft movements.
UV camera detects Corona in broad daylight
The corona camera is capable of detecting and producing video images of the energy generated by the corona phenomena. Corona and arcing occur by stress of the electric field which is not current dependent and therefore can only be revealed by UV inspection. The camera is highly sensitive, 3 x 10-18 watt/cm2, and fully solar-blind meaning that Corona can be visualized in full daytime. The camera contains the UV detector to image the corona and a color Day TV to image the surrounding scene. The signals from the two sensors are blended together and presented to the operator. The three field of view lens (16º / 8º / 4º) permits long range detection and close up analysis of Corona.
Radiometric infrared camera
The thermal imaging camera can easily identify objects from their thermal signature or power line problems where the fault is apparent as a change in temperature. The camera contains a high definition 640×480 pixel detector that allows temperature readings either in real time or from a stored image. It delivers exceptional sensitivity, resolution, and image quality for a wide variety of airborne imaging applications. Its 0.03°C sensitivity and ±1°C accuracy means precise temperature readings.
MegaPixel Digital Photo camera
The MegaPixel camera captures high resolution still images that provide visual records of faults detected by the infrared camera.
GPS data is stored as part of each captured image file name thus permitting geo-referencing of fault locations, areas where animals are roaming….
Advanced infrared software
The interface can transfer 16-bit radiometric data directly into the onboard PC for post-flight analysis of captured infrared images. FLIR’s Reporter Professional software permits retrieval and analysis of IR images and temperature data. It includes temperature display and analysis functions such as isotherms, line profiles, area histograms, and much more.
So far for 2013, the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) has had a busy year: flying at IDEX in Abu Dhabi and again at the LIMA Exhibition in Malaysia. The CAMCOPTER S100 System continues to gain maritime experience and flight hours about the French OPV La’Adroit, and has competed successful integration of the DeckFinder Local Positioning System for automatic GPS-Independent Operation at sea and land. Other recent development include the integration of the RIEGL VQ-820-GU Hydrographic Airborne LIDAR, Flight operation from an Italian Navy vessel, operations in the Arctic Circle with the Russian Coast Guard and the ongoing flight performance testing and use with the latest Heavy fuel engine specifically design for demanding Naval operations. More developments and announcements highlighting the versatility and flexibility of the CAMCOPTER S100 will be announced shortly.
Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group of companies focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the revolutionary CAMCOPTER® S-100Unmanned Air System (UAS). Schiebel has built an international reputation for producing quality defense and humanitarian products, which are backed by exceptional after-sales service and support. Since 2010 Schiebel offers the new division composite and is able to supply high-tech customers with this high-quality carbon fiber technology. All products are quality-controlled to meet ISO 9001 standards. With headquarters in Vienna (Austria), Schiebel now maintains production facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria), and Abu Dhabi (UAE), as well as offices in Washington DC (USA), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
About the CAMCOPTER® S-100:
Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military andcivilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via preprogrammed GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. High definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft. In its standard configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or heavy fuel.