Concert Technologies, a Brazilian company, was the winner of the 'Start-up Challenge: Public lighting and cabling detection', an international program by Iberdrola group- Neoenergia parent company - which included almost 50 proposals from 17 countries on 4 continents. The program seeks to encourage innovative solutions in order to improve the efficiency of services in the sector, while investing in technological trends and promoting transformative partnerships. With the result, the winner of the challenge will develop a pilot project to detect and validate autonomously the public lighting and cabling points not registered in the company's database. To this end, Neoenergia will finance the entire process, in addition to the technical support to test the solution at the grid distribution facilities of the concessionaires.
"The goal is to update the database of public lighting and cabling points periodically and quickly, to make infrastructure maintenance more efficient and reduce energy losses in the grid. This is important because, in some cases, new lighting points are installed that are not registered in the maintenance databases, besides inconsistencies that occur in relation to those already installed, such as quantity and type of lamps, and even luminaries that remain on off the standard time", reports the director of Neoenergia's Customer Services, Luiz Flávio Xavier de Sá. According to Iberdrola's plan, public lighting represents about 15% of the energy whose losses can be reduced in Brazil.
The technology also presents solutions for cases of mutual use, that is, those situations in which the structure of the energy grid is shared with telephone and pay TV cables. With the visual inspection, it will be possible to locate the presence of mutual use that does not exist in the database or that is above the recorded one. The system will also allow the visualization of trees that can potentially touch the wiring, a situation that causes damage to the energy supply.
For the Innovation and Sustainability superintend of Neoenergia, Francisco Carvalho, this is one important move of the company. "We are in constant approach with start-ups and technology-based companies that can bring solutions to Neoenergia's business. The pilot project is part of the experimentation strategy, facilitating the incorporation and validation of new technologies in an agile way".
The Concert solution consists of a platform called Imagery, developed in order to digitally transform the visual inspection activities of the energy distribution grid and transmission lines. For this to happen, the company uses remote sensing technologies. In Neoenergia's case, two solutions will be adopted: a 360° camera and a LiDAR laser sensor, both connected to a vehicle that will perform the inspection in the field. "While the camera records images like those captured by the human eye, the sensor maps by cloud points, a technology that ensures greater accuracy in data processing. With this, we will compare the two formats and identify which is the most efficient," explains Concert sales leader Felipe Sant'Anna. Initially, the pilot project will be applied in two cities in the state of Pernambuco - Paulista and Moreno - and is expected to be concluded in six months.
After the collection in the field, the images are digitally processed. For this, artificial intelligence algorithms are applied that identify objects and classify them, extracting information such as the power and type of the lamp, as well as the points of mutual use, indicating quantity and proprietary companies. Once the objects of interest are classified, a photogrammetric intersection algorithm is applied to determine the location. In the last step of the automatic image analysis process, the identified and classified objects are confronted with the company's database, allowing a quick identification of cadastral inconsistencies. "For us, it is very important to participate in the initiative of a global company, which will increase the visibility of the solution. We have a great expectation for the results, because it is in line with the strategic alignment of the company", concludes Felipe.