Safe powered pylon inspections

Situation & problem

The end-customer, an electric grid operator, needs to inspect on a regular basis a large installed base of pylons for corrosion and damage. This is a dangerous and time consuming activity requiring people to work at great heights and in proximity of high voltage lines.

Intermodalics’ solution

In field operations of a drone close to powered electricity pylons.

We developed a software stack to allow an inspector to execute a pylon inspection autonomously or semi-autonomously. We combined 2D and 3D machine vision with GPS to define the drone’s position accurately with respect to the pylon and to perform the actual inspection task of taking pictures and videos. We developed a path planning and control system that autonomously scans specific parts of the pylon from specific view points while keeping a safe distance from the pylon and its wires. Its constraint based control allows the operator to share control of the drone with the AI, where the AI ensures safety boundaries while the operator can move freely in a local and real-time updated space. Moreover we equipped the drone with a safe by design orchestration software, taking into account legal requirements, situational awareness and self-awareness to adapt missions on the fly for safe operation. To ensure that the operator can take over at all times, we equipped the drone with a multi-bandwidth communication systems with a smart fall back management system.


A drone that allows an inspector to execute a pylon inspection autonomously or semi-autonomously from the ground.