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Power line inspection is an essential job for the maintenance of electric grids. However, the job is not easy due to wide range of grid distribution. Besides manually inspecting power lines, which is still the main method, helicopters are also used for the inspection from the sky. In the recent years, unmanned flying systems were used for power line inspection in order to reduce the risk. In recent years, some researchers have started to use unmanned helicopters to inspect power lines. Following their research, we present an applied inspection robot called SmartCopter based on an Unmanned Autonomous Helicopter (UAH) for the inspection of transmission lines. Our interest is on the combination of a UAH and an inspection system for the practical application in the field. This paper describes the design of the flying robot and presents the experimental results.
Date of Conference: 5-7 Oct. 2010