The pre-history of Albatroz Engineering begins in the year 2003, when the name was registered legally by Gomes Mota to create a company in the area of three-dimensional reconstruction of out-door environments. Before, he had worked in mobile robot localisation in the context of 3D reconstruction in project RESOLV.
Enrolment in an Entrepreneurship Course proposed by the IN+, a research unit of Instituto Superior Técnico of the Technical University Lisbon led to the creation of a business plan aimed at companies working in civil engineering and heritage restoration.
For multiple reasons, the venture was suspended until 2005, when the problem of three-dimensional over-head line track modeling began to generate greater interest.
First atempts with 3D modeling in project RESOLV. This is the Salon Delacroix or Coronation Room in Assemblée Nationale, Paris, France.
In early 2004, Gomes Mota began to work at the Research & Development Group of LABELEC, a company of the EDP Group. EDP holds the concession for distribution of electricity in Portugal.
As a member of this group he became involved with the issue of over-head line inspection with an emphasis on track clearance and obstacle detection. For this purpose he recalled the previous experiments of 3D modeling with laser range scanners.
Then he invited Alberto Vale, a former colleague at Institute for Systems and Robotics at Instituto Superior Técnico, to join this effort in a R&D project based on 3D reconstruction technololgy. An early 3D reconstructed model is shown below.
First line clearance trials with mobile robots in 2004.
The first system, mounted on a ground vehicle, was inaugurated in the spring of 2005; airborne trials were carried later in the same year. The figure below shows the one of the first field trials with automatic detection of features: over head line cables and towers.
The results were submitted to CIGRÉ06 and the rest is ...
The first clearance measurement system mounted on a ground vehicle.
The company was founded on the 21st February 2006.
On the 1st March, 2006, Gomes Mota and Alberto Vale inaugurated the first office in Lisbon.
The first challenge was to develop a 3D reconstruction system for over-head lines track clearance inspection. From the start, it was apparent that the most interesting approach would be to integrate multiple inspections in one single mission, so other skills and resources were acquired.
During the Spring and Summer of 2006, the team was improved with the skills of Miguel Ramos, Décio Bento, Carlos Silva e Luís Pimentel and the temporary collaboration of foreign interns.
In February 2007, Albatroz Engineering moved its office to a larger area in Lisbon downtown.
In June 2007, the development of Power Line Maintenance Inspection [PLMI] concluded with the 3D modeling of power lines and distance measurement integrated in the standard inspection solution.
Since January 2008, PLMI is the standard framework for the over-head line inspections in Portugal. The company returned to CIGRÉ, presenting a technical paper and a stand at the exhibition where PLMI was on display during the CIGRÉ2008 edition.
In 2009, the company secured a contract to develop a system for line inspection in Spain. It is a development from the existing Power Line Maintenance Inspection, named PLMI 2.0. Improvements from the first release include higher accuracy in geographical localisation of points of interest and integration of geographic information systems and asset management tools into the system architecture. At the end of the year, there were three PLMI operating systems (although both still undergoing validation) and totaled 11.900 km of lines inspected.
In 2010, the Albatroz Engineering began to work in the periodic inspection of medium voltage lines, which led to a rapid increase in the number of inspected km: 21.500 km. In that same year, settled a license agreement for Canada and USA. Also, it launched a new research axis on stochastic analysis of inspections, unified status evaluation and probabilistic asset management.
In 2011, the company expanded to France. In that summer changed the company location, doubling its working area. It adopted new business models, renting PLMI system and providing inspection reports in France. The client performs inspections on their territory with PLMI system and the Albatroz Engineering, analyzes the data and produces output files according to the end-customer specifications. With the fourth operating system, the number of inspected km amounted to 33.100 km.
In 2012 with another PLMI system, its presence in the medium voltage market was strengthened. The company reached 48.200 km, of which 28.000 km in medium voltage. The company participated in August at CIGRÉ2012 in Paris.
In 2013 continued the previous trend with the inspection increase to 56.500 km. It participated for the first time in June at CIRED in Stockholm and at Le Bourget International Paris Air Show in Paris.
In February 2014, the company was recognized as a Design Organization Approval [DOA] by the European Agency for Safety Aeronautics, [EASA - European Aviation Safety Agency]. During the same year, seven PLMI systems were used, which surveyed more than 60.000 km of power lines. The company also participated in the CIGRÉ2014 in Paris.
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Partial view of the office facilities at Rua Maria, inaugurated in 2011.
About the logo
The logo represents an albatross (Diomedeidae) flying over dark blue open waters. It is an allegory of a wandering bird living an endless journey of discovery over uncharted oceans, such as research and development (R&D) companies "fly" over unknown waters without knowing whether there is terra firma at the end of the journey.
The motto on the red band "Que não se muda já como soía" meaning "Change isn't like it used to be", is from the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões (circa 1524-1580) and evokes the need for R&D and innovation companies to be ready to change not only its products and solutions but, most importantly, the way they operate. The first object for innovation and metamorphosis is the company itself.