AI-based powerline inspection software levels up to support utilities in navigating impact of climate change

Source: press release, 7 February 2022

Using AI, machine learning and predictive analytics capabilities, Sharper CORE enables automation of detection, forecasting, and actionable prioritisation, creating actionable reporting such as workflow planning and work orders
Using AI, machine learning and predictive analytics capabilities, Sharper CORE enables automation of detection, forecasting, and actionable prioritisation, creating actionable reporting such as workflow planning and work orders (illustration: Sharper Shape)

Sharper Shape, a pioneer in powerline inspection solutions for the utility industry, has announced the new iteration of its cutting-edge utility digital twin technology that incorporates a new, fourth dimension of time to what has traditionally been a 3D industry model, creating a living digital twin (LDT), that specifically answers utility needs in terms of safety, efficiency accuracy and cost saving.

The Sharper CORE Living Digital Twin integrates aerial and ground data with third-party data from sources such as weather satellites into a single, powerful artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven software platform, meaning as the surrounding environment and the asset itself changes, the living model is continuously updated, so everyone can know everything, anytime and being cloud based – remotely from anywhere.

This continuous change detection allows remote inspectors to monitor evolving network risks, highlight qualitative differences and identify statistical patterns, while analysing and prioritising them in accordance with infrastructure-related needs and local regulatory requirements. Ultimately, supporting utilities with an unrivalled level of up to date and predictive intelligence to streamline operations and maintenance to reduce unnecessary costs, while improving the resiliency and consistency of power supply.

Sharper Shape has developed this software platform in response to the heightened challenges climate change is bringing to utilities. As extreme weather events, such as wildfires, become more frequent and power supply consistency more worrisome, utilities need to adapt existing strategies to manage assets in a way today’s environment demands. In light of this, Sharper Shape has also shared its findings on powerline inspection in a warmer world in its latest industry report, discussing what utilities should expect – and how best to prepare to ensure operational efficiency while importantly, protecting the communities they serve.

Chris Beaufait, CEO of Sharper Shape says, “As global warming continues to threaten society, we all need to make better decisions. Last year, we saw the wildfire season extend from a seasonal, to a year-round issue. With this likely to be the new normal, utilities’ preventative maintenance, vegetation management and emergency response plans simply have to level up – and the real-time factor in digital twin technology will make a significant difference here.

“Launched in 2018, Sharper CORE addresses the known issues of asset integrity, maintenance and vegetation management in a single software solution, but this latest advancement sees it move far beyond 3D modelling, adding the element of time, to provide better insights, for smarter decisions.”

The Sharper CORE Living Digital Twin is Sharper Shape’s AI-based proprietary cloud software which automatically centralises, stores, and visualises all collected historical and real-time asset, vegetation, and environmental data to provide a highly detailed four-dimensional virtual replica of a utility’s electric network – allowing utilities to remotely inspect T&D assets from any browser at any time.