September 2015 – Newsletter

July - September 2015



Improving vegetation management

New internship @ Albatroz Engineering

Improving small systems: New ABZ Trax system

Now available: aeronautical equipment rental



Read more from September 2015 Newsletter .


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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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Abril 2015 – Newsletter

March - April 2015



Small Systems to take Power Line Maintenance Inspection to all grids

Albatroz Engineering @ IT4Energy 2015 symposium

Re-sag on transmission lines with PLMI

New domain and new website!





Read more from April 2015 newsletter.

Implementation of Line inspection systems alternatives to the helicopter

Implementation of Line inspection systems alternatives to the helicopter

by J. Gomes-Mota, R. Oliveira, S. Antunes,

Albatroz Engenharia


presented at ERIAC Conference - Encuentro Regional Iberoamericano de Cigré, Argentina, 17-21 May 2015, ERIAC .

Distinguished as "best technical contribution" at the B2 Studies Committee - Overhead Lines, from a set of 21 Technical Contributions from 5 different countries.



This paper follows on from two papers dedicated to the design of power lines inspection systems presented at XII ERIAC (2007, Brazil) and XIV ERIAC (2011, Paraguay). In 2005 the authors present the first implementations of the line inspection systems alternative to the helicopters that remain as the reference tool for transmission lines inspection.

The design of the new systems obeyed to three fundamental demands: 1) interpretation continuity among the different inspection methods; 2) maintenance of the integration characteristics, flexibility and real-time data inherited from the heli-transported systems and 3) complementarity of inspection methods.

The ground inspection system from a ground vehicle was introduced in 2011 and improved: in its current version it features a 2MPixel video recording and a mini LiDAR with about 50m of range in cable detection, combined with a GPS and guiding sensor. This system evolved to a portable version that can be transported and used in locations with difficult access.

The systems based in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV] with rotating wing developed much since 2011, specially the multicopter kind with a symmetrical arrangement of propellers. And if on the one hand this expansion and trivialisation has launched new “practical” solutions for infrastructures inspection, namely power lines towers, wind towers and thermal power plants chimneys,  on the other showed the limitations of operational efficiency resulting from regulatory limits to flight, the physical characteristics of the systems and the performance of the operators. The solution has been to limit inspections to visual modalities, taking advantage of the lightness and quality of digital imaging systems and the huge the huge improvement recorded in the meantime in bandwidth and wireless networks of coverage.

The fixed wing UAVs were also used for experimental or R&D line inspection. In this case the automatic pilot help allows to extend the reach and time of work of the systems while reducing the pilot’s fatigue that only performs supervision tasks, saving up for special phases of flight: take-off, landing and sensor calibration and resolution of exceptions.

The compatibility requirement of the inspection products can help to reduce some development systems but can also serve to enhance the complementarity between inspection modes. In this case, the intention is that products or methods of analysis of each inspection mode are complementary to others to see the line under a new point of view. Besides complementarity in the inspection modes (including vehicles, sensors and procedures variation) It can also be useful to introduce heterogeneity in the inspection frequency and modes, adapting rhythms to each of the phenomena to observe. The simplification or abolition of inspection modes can significantly contribute to increasing the economic efficiency of the inspection and sometimes even to increase its technical efficiency by reducing restrictions or incompatibilities between inspection modes.



Inspection – Helicopter – UAV – All-terrain – Real-time processing – Man-machine interface – Ergonomy – Autonomy – Airworthiness


Visible video inspection

Infra-red camera inspection

Examples of data collected with small systems, alternative to the helicopter

LiDAR-based Inspection Data Analysis to Calculate Vegetation Approximation Rate to OHLs

LiDAR-based Inspection Data Analysis to Calculate Vegetation Approximation Rate to OHLs

by Rita Lopes1, Sandra Cordeiro1, Francisco Azevedo2, João Gomes Mota1

1 Albatroz Engenharia, Portugal, 2 NOVA Laboratory for Computer Science and Informatics, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal

presented at IT4Energy symposium, Lisbon, April 2015.



Environmental factors are responsible for most of the over-head lines issues, and a significant part of them is related with vegetation, mostly on dis-tribution grids. Maintenance is the key to reduce the occurrence of vegetation related events, but it has a significant impact on the cost of power line asset management and thus must be optimized. This work proposes a method to cal-culate vegetation approximation rates, based on LiDAR acquired during air-borne inspections, in order to optimize maintenance processes and reduce the impact of this activity on the local biodiversity.


Maintenance; OHL; inspection; LiDAR; Vegetation Management


Advances in Vegetation Management to improve Reliability

Advances in Vegetation Management to improve Reliability

by J. Gomes-Mota, F. Azevedo1, J. Casaca2, V. Almeida, N. Pinho da Silva, L. Campos Pinto2

1CENTRIA, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2REN – Rede Eléctrica Nacional

presented by Vítor Almeida at International Conferee on Condition Monitoring, Diagnosis and Maintenance – CMDM 2012, September 2-5, 2013, Bucharest, Romania, .


Incidents associated to vegetation in the Portuguese transmission grid have decreased from one of the major causes to negligible impact in less than a decade. This was due to the cumulative effect of four independent, yet concurrent, programs: 1) routine clearance inspections with LiDAR, extended to the whole grid, provided quantitative measures associated with degrees of severity for each hazardous tree; 2) classification of the right-of-way according to land use, density of vegetation and classification of tree growth rates; 3) targeted actions consisting of tree trimming, pruning and cutting with priorities set by severity and criticality of each Over Head Line [OHL]; 4) public policies to create secondary routes to remove biomass from the forests that mandated the Transmission System Operator [TSO] clear paths around OHL.

The Portuguese TSO (REN – Rede Eléctrica Nacional) operates a grid of 8443km of OHL with three voltage levels and incurs significant investment and operation costs to achieve and maintain vegetation incidents at a very low level. Thus, a program to supersede existing blind systematic actions with probability based approaches leading to risk based management was launched. This combines information from the four programs with environmental, reliability and asset management data with third party information. Given that the outcome (incidents due to vegetation) is already at an optimal level, the current research will try to optimize the process as well


Vegetation management, LidAR inspections, Classification of right-of-way, Biomass, Risk based management, Inspection, Maintenance Optimisation.


View from advanced vegetation management practices encouraged by REN, the Portuguese TSO.

Prototipo para la Monitorización de la Infraestructura Ferroviaria utilizando Sensores Lidar, Imagen de Video y GPS: Primeros Resultados (ES)

Prototipo para la Monitorización de la Infraestructura Ferroviaria utilizando Sensores Lidar, Imagen de Video y GPS: Primeros Resultados

por F. Goméz Bravo1, A. Vale2, J. Gomes-Mota2

1 Departamento de Ingeniería Electrónica, Sistemas Informáticos y Automática.
Escuela Politécnica Superior, Universidad de Huelva. Carretera de Palos-La Rábida s/n. 21071 Huelva España.

2 ALBATROZ Engenharia, Investigação, Desenvolvimento e Inovação,
Rua da Conceição 60,1º P-1100-154 Lisboa, Portugal

apresentado nas XXVIII Jornadas de Automática of Universidad de Huelva, Spain, 5-7 Setembro, 2007. O seminário foi organizado Escuela Politécnica Superior e pelo Departamento de Ingeniería Electrónica y Automática.

Artigo em Espanhol, publicado nos relatórios das XXVIII Jornadas de Automática. ISBN: 978-84-690-749-8.



Este artículo presenta resultados experimentales sobre técnicas de monitorización del estado de la infraestructura ferroviaria. Los datos fueron obtenidos durante unos ensayos realizados con el tren auscultador TALGO en líneas de alta velocidad de ADIF. La monitorización se realizó en tiempo real utilizando datos provenientes de sensores láser, una cámara de video y un receptor GPS.


Sistemas de percepción, Fusión sensorial, Reconstrucción 3D, Segmentación de imágenes, Infraestructura ferroviaria.


Taking Accurate Measurements of High Voltage Installations with Laser Range Scanners and GPS

Taking Accurate Measurements of High Voltage Installations with Laser Range Scanners and GPS

por J. Gomes-Mota1, A. Vale2, A. Matos-André1, M. I. Ribeiro2

1LABELEC/Grupo EDP, 2Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica/Instituto Superior Técnico
apresentado na CIGRÉ06 – Sessão 41 (Comité de Estudos B2) Paris, França, 28 de Agosto a 1 de Setembro, 2006.


Este artigo relata o projecto de I&D que viria a dar origem à solução Power Line Maintenance Inspection [PLMI].
Embora o artigo tenha sido submetido com a filiação na LABELEC, foi já a Albatroz Engenharia que financiou a participação Sessão e na Exposição Técnica da CIGRÉ06.


Limiares de classificação para uma linha de 400kV com três fases horizontais e dois cabos de terra.



Laser range systems are a valuable tool to measure live power installations, as they allow accurate measurements to be taken from a safe distance without disturbing electrical system operation.

A laser range scanner standing in one location will create a local model of free space around it. A laser range scanner mounted on a moving vehicle with Global Positioning System (GPS) provides a 3D geometrical model of the installation and the environment surrounding it. Laser systems combined with GPS localisation are used to measure clearance around overhead lines (OHL) and real-time sag variations. These solutions supply 3D metric data for maintenance processes, technical and legal audits, hazard assessment and safety training. Spin-off applications include fast as-built models of installations and updates of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) representations.

High-quality high-cost devices borrowed from aerial topography have been used in the past for some of these applications. The paper describes a new approach based on low-cost, portable, industrial laser range scanners and consumer electronics. These scanners can be operated from the ground or from a helicopter, as LABELEC does to inspect OHL. At present, their measuring range is up to 60m (197ft) or 80m (262ft), depending on target reflectance; their typical accuracy is near 2cm (1in) for still applications, up to ten times fold for moving, airborne applications. Although their accuracy and resolution are much lower than their topography counterparts, the authors show that they are sufficient for the aforementioned applications and offer a better value to cost ratio.

Preliminary experiments, described in the paper, proved the feasibility of this approach in cases the goal were to certify the compliance of warped substation bus rods to mechanical stress regulations and to verify tree clearance distances around OHL. Current efforts aim at developing an integrated solution with the airborne inspection of OHL, leading to significant efficiency gains. Significant challenges remain on the robustness and scalability issues, equipment wear out, data integration with GIS and optimal data representation for clients. The long-term goals are to integrate the laser scanner with video and audio streams to create a synchronous and coherent representation of the line track; to create real-time 3D models automatically and to develop software for various applications, starting with OHL clearance management and tree identification and growth forecast.


Overhead Lines (OHL), Right of Way (ROW), Clearance, Quality of Service, Safety, Laser Range Scanner, Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), Global Positioning System (GPS).

Resumo traduzido

“Os sistemas de medição com laser são uma ferramenta valiosa para inspeccionar instalações eléctricas sob tensão pois permitem obter medidas rigorosas a partir de distâncias seguras e sem perturbar a operação do sistema eléctrico.

Com um laser de medição e varrimento (laser range scanner) instalado numa posição pode criar-se um modelo do espaço livre à sua volta. Um mesmo laser de medição e varrimento montado num veículo com receptor GPS (Global Positioning System) gera um modelo tridimensional (3D) da instalação eléctrica e do ambiente à sua volta. Os sistemas laser combinados com localização por GPS são usados para medir distâncias de segurança em torno de linhas eléctricas aéreas e variações de flecha em tempo real. Estas soluções providenciam dados métricos em 3D para as actividades de manutenção, auditorias técnicas e legais, avaliação de riscos e treinos de segurança. Outras aplicações conexas incluem modelos “tal qual” (as built) de instalações e actualizações de representações em Sistemas de Informação Geográfica (GIS).

Os sistemas de alta qualidade e alto custo provenientes da topografia aérea foram usados no passado para algumas destas aplicações. O artigo descreve uma nova abordagem baseada em sistemas de baixo cusot, portáteis, recorrendo a laser range scanners industriais e electrónica de consumo. Estes lasers podem ser operado a partir do chão ou a partir de um helicóptero como a LABELEC faz para inspeccionar linhas eléctricas aéreas. Actualmente, o seu alcance de medida é de 60m a 80m, dependendo da reflectância dos alvos, a sua exactidão é próxima de 2cm para aplicações fixas e cerca de dez vezes mais para aplicações móveis, terrestres ou aéreas. Os autores mostram que embora a exactidão e resolução destes equipamentos sejam muito inferiores aos equipamentos topográficos usados para o mesmo fim, eles são suficientes para as aplicações supra-indicadas e oferecem uma melhor relação desempenho/preço.

Os ensaios preliminares descritos no artigo provam a viabilidade da abordagem nos casos em que o objectivo era verificar a deformação de varas de barramentos em subestações relativamente a normas de esforço mecânico e para medir as distâncias de seguranças em torno das linhas eléctricas aéreas. Os trabalhos actuais envolvem a integraçao destas funções na rotina actual de inspecções, o que deverá dar origem a ganhos de eficiência muito importantes. Subsistem desafios importantes nas áreas da robustez e escalabilidade da solução, desgaste do equipamento, integração de dados com os GIS e apresentação optimizada dos dados para os clientes. Os objectivos de longo prazo envolvem a integração dos dados laser com vídeo e áudio para criar uma representação coerente e síncrona da linha e faixa envolvente; a criação de modelos 3D automáticos e o desenvolvimento de software para várias aplicações, começanco com as linhas eléctricas aéreas, gestão da limpea da faixa e identificação de árvores e estimação de crescimento.”

Este artigo relata o projecto de I&D que viria a dar origem ao Power Line Maintenance Inspection.
Albatroz Engenharia esteve presente na Exposição Técnica da CIGRÉ06.