Outubro 2018 – Newsletter

Setembro - Outubro 2018



Tema central: Redes eléctricas e florestas: paralelismo na gestão de activos


Fusão de textura em modelos 3D

Estágio de verão: estação meteorológica

Eventos a acontecer em 2019



Ver mais em newsletter Setembro-Outubro2018


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Agosto 2018 – Newsletter

Julho - Agosto 2018



Tema central: CIGRÉ 2018 - Desenvolvimento Sustentável - Sustentabilidade, Eficiência, Incerteza


LiDAR aplicado à detecção individual de árvores

Albatroz na EASA Drone Workshop (APANT)

Albatroz Engenharia na 9ª edição RedBurros, Fly-In, Mogadouro (APANT)

Primeiro voo não tripulado com LiDAR para estudo de vegetação



Ver mais em newsletter Julho-Agosto2018


Para receber a versão integral da nossa newsletter, contacte-nos através do e-mail: info@albatroz.engineering (artigo escrito em inglês)

Julho Agosto2018

Junho 2018 – Newsletter

Abril - Junho 2018



Tema central: Sense and Avoid - primeiro passo para integrar aeronaves não tripuladas no espaço aéreo


Albatroz Engenharia no Portugal Air Summit

Aeronáutica na Covilhã e Castelo Branco: Jornadas Aeronáuticas e Open Day

Albatroz Engenharia a caminho da CIGRÉ, stand #212



Ver mais em newsletter Abril-Junho2018


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Dezembro 2017 – Newsletter

Novembro - Dezembro 2017



Tema central: Deteção automatizada de problemas visíveis em linhas eléctricas


Estágios de verão: Sense & Avoid com FLARM; Testes de FLARM com drones

Stronger Together! Encontro entre Air Tourane e Albatroz Engenharia



Ver mais em newsletter Novembro-Dezembro2017


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February 2017 – Newsletter

January - February 2017


Lessons learned on the use of DRONES for overhead line inspection

SINFO 24th  - Information Technology Week 

Image processing Internship 

Unmanned flight regulation established in Portugal


Read more from newsletter Fevereiro 2017

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Target-fencing for RPAS power line inspections

Target-fencing for RPAS power line inspections

João Gomes-Mota, Sandra Antunes, Albatroz Engineering

This paper proposes a procedure for safe and secure over-head power line inspections with RPAS based on the double use of payload sensors: mission purposes and connection to autonomous controllers to “bind” the aircraft to the infrastructure.

1. Motivation

The authors have been involved with power line maintenance inspection for 12 and 7 years, respectively. Overhead power line inspection is a method for preventive maintenance for early detection of worn or defective parts in the power lines, environmental hazards around the line and monitor vegetation development on the line track. In Europe and North America, helicopters with a specialist crew are the preferred vector to perform this task, as well as in many other countries. This requires flying close to the power lines at slow speed and, in case of rural distribution lines, flying close to the ground and just above canopies (one operator claims to be living for “50 years at 50 feet” of its copper lines and the ground as well). 

In recent years, concerns about safety, noise and operation costs on the down side and innovations on wireless communications, aeronautics, robotics and human-machine interfaces on the upside led to the consideration of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems [RPAS] as an alternative to helicopters to perform power line inspections. However, if ordinary helicopter pilots are trained to keep away of power-lines, all operation manuals for RPAS are as adamant: keep away from all kinds of power-lines. To perform power line maintenance inspections, the requirement is the opposite: always keep close to power-lines.


2. Introduction


Most guidelines [] and regulations [] for RPAS civilian operation emphasise the need for safety and security. In terms of safety, the main concern is the protection of people, property and the environment on the ground and, secondarily, the unmanned aerial aircraft [UAV][1].  Permissions to carry missions beyond line of sight [BLOS] are rare and come with a tighter frame of constraints.

One path submitted by FAA to public discussion [] is the “geo-fencing” of the UAV through proof that unmanned aircraft can be confined to a volume defined by geographical coordinates and ceilings above ground level and maintain itself within this volume by its own means. To prove the geo-fencing ability, the UAV must handle the failure, degradation or nefarious jamming of Global Navigation Satellite System signals [GNSS] (this is a security issue] and degradation or loss of communications to the ground station and pilot. Under such constraints, using RPAS to perform an inspection of a power line, or any other linear infrastructure, for that matter, would require a succession of NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) closing small volumes of airspace containing the confinement volume and around it for the duration of the inspection.


[1] While RPAS and UAV acronyms are often confused, the authors use RPAS for the whole system, including aircraft, ground station and support systems (such as communication relays) and UAV for the aircraft actually flying under the command of a remote pilot on the ground or an embarked autonomous auto-pilot.


3. Contributions


The authors propose an extension of this principle in case of RPAS inspecting power lines. As the inspection assignment involves sensors capable of measuring distances between objects in 3D space, such signals could be used in real-time to track the distance from the UAV to the target of the inspection (be it a power line, a pipeline or other). The most common technology for this purpose is LiDAR coupled with GPS and Attitude and Heading Reference Systems [AHRS]. Most providers of inspection services from helicopters do not process such data in real time due to the complexity and computational effort they require. However, the authors’ organisation introduced PLMI (Power Line Maintenance Inspection in 2007, which is a system for helicopters whose novelty to the market included the real-time measurement of distance to the lines, to the ground and all other surrounding objects in real-time to, primarily, improve safety of crews and, secondarily, quality of service.

If such tools are combined with a supervisory module within the auto-pilot of an UAV, it ought to ensure the UAV keeps within the specified volume of the target at the same time making sure it does not come too close to protect the lines and the UAV from contact.  Taking inspiration from “geo-fencing” the authors call it “target-fencing”.

As long as the infrastructure is continuous, the UAV can follow it, relying on target-fencing to bind the UAV to a safe distance from the target and within the confined airspace. This can be combined with geo-fencing to approach and leave the infra-structure and to provide maps to assist navigation and waypoint following. In case there are intermissions in the infrastructure (such as underground cables or pipelines or road or railroad tunnels), the UAV would rely on geo-fencing alone possibly coupled with a behaviour to follow the canopy (or the digital surface model being generated in real-time), until the infrastructure resumes.

The paper shall discuss the technical aspects of the implementation of such “target-fencing” applied to multi-copter style UAV. Its application to fixed wing UAV should be introduced.










Field trials with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Transmission Grids

Field trials with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on Transmission Grids

By J. Gomes-Mota1a, R. Oliveiraa, S. Antunesa,b
aAlbatroz Engineering, bUniversidade da Beira Interior


The authors used their experience on the design of role equipment for helicopters dedicated to over-head line [OHL] inspections, aeronautics and field operation to deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV], often called drones, for OHL inspections, aiming to keep the same functions and extending present capabilities whenever possible. Focus is kept on payload, systems, inspection functions, operation and mission control; the UAV design and real time control is beyond the scope. The authors also report on issues found during field trials that prove important when outlining a new inspection procedure or the transition from helicopter operation.
The paper begins with an overview of airworthiness with a focus on European regulatory framework and discussion on the possibilities of multicopters for local inspections and smaller aircraft for beyond line of sight operation. It follows with a description of UAV as a component of a system including ground control station, vectors, payloads, operators, inspection functions and how the mission and its constraints shape the design of the solution. Then, experience from field trials with fixed wing and rotary UAV is presented; this concerns mostly visual inspection; nevertheless, LiDAR and infra-red are also introduced.
The final section deals with roadmaps to introduce UAV in the inspection market, whether as substitutes or complements of other inspection methods; safety operation on UAV critical equipment and humans; wireless links, real-time control and user interfaces.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV], Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems [RPAS], drones, overhead lines, inspection, safety, airworthiness.

UAV "point of view" during inspection

June 2015 – Newsletter

May - June 2015



Albatroz Engineering @ CIRED 2015 in Lyons

Encuentro Regional Iberoamericano de CIGRE [ERIAC] - Meeting of the Iberian-American Region of CIGRÉ in Argentina

   - Implementing alternatives to line inspection by helicopter

   - Multi-layer visualization and space-time correlation

Albatroz Engineering in Spanish

   - Spanish interns at Albatroz




Read more from June 2015 Newsletter .


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