16.01 2018

Estonian company develops unmanned helicopter

There are eleven million kilometres of power lines in Europe. The state of most of these is checked on foot, by vehicle in more trafficable places and only 2 percent by manned copter or plane. The work is time-consuming and expensive, but Estonian start-up Hepta Airborne is developing a solution that would make the life of network and consultation companies a lot easier.

Hepta Airborne is developing an unmanned copter, sensors and a software platform for air monitoring activities. These are used to help carry out monitoring activities in the air – there are no providers of this kind of service and technology in the near region. “We came to this idea when we used a manned copter for monitoring activities. However, the work hour of the copter is expensive. That is why we started to look for ways how to make the monitoring activities more efficient. Although we considered satellites, line robots and battery-based drones, we ended up at the solution of autonomously functioning unmanned copter,” explained Hepta Airborne CEO Henri Klemmer.

A longer flight time unlike usual drones
The drone built by Hepta Airborne stays in the air for six hours and can cover 600 kilometres. The drone works and gathers information on power networks autonomously, which means that people do not have to guide it. A push of button is all it takes and the machine begins to work.

Emphasis on monitoring of overhead transmission lines, but there are other uses
The company foresees that the platform is mainly used in the monitoring of overhead transmission lines, but does not rule out other economic fields. “The first ones who are interested are, for example, from law enforcement organisations, the field of forestry and agriculture, also from research institutions,” said Klemmer.

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