Osprey NPS enables direct contact measurements on live power lines

Aug. 18, 2021
Osprey NPS will make live-line work safer, more time efficient, and more accessible by leveraging the power of unmanned aerial systems.

RICHMOND, Va., - Linebird announced tthe launch of its Osprey Nonconductive Payload System, known as Osprey NPS. The debut of the new drone technology is supported by SensorLink Corporation, Linebird's lead investor, and will make live-line work safer, more time efficient, and more accessible by leveraging the power of unmanned aerial systems.

Conductor splices and dead-end connections are critical points of failure on transmission lines. Each year power line failures result in millions of dollars of revenue losses, power outages, property damage, wildfires, injuries, and even loss of life. As a result, power lines require periodic assessment, previously only possible using costly and high-liability manned methods. As an example, helicopters are often used to perform visual and infrared (IR) thermal inspections­­ that frequently miss deteriorated connections due to IR "masking effects," such as wind cooling and low loading on power lines. In addition, ground-based inspections using linemen climbing poles and/or bucket trucks are time inefficient and costly. Osprey NPS by Linebird provides a solution by fundamentally changing the way utility companies perform tests on live conductors, allowing for direct contact work to be accomplished using unmanned aerial platforms.

Osprey NPS combines Ohmstik measurement technology by SensorLink Corporation with the capability of unmanned aerial systems to improve power grid reliability and resilience, drastically improving the safety and reducing cost factors of utility inspection and maintenance. Ohmstik measures the condition of a connector (its electrical resistance) without any "masking effects." Osprey NPS also allows utility companies to gain actionable data on infrastructure around the world.

The debut of Linebird's system will result in a low-cost, safe and cost-effective means for trained line crews to perform splice and dead-end connector inspections with the Ohmstik. The equipment is easily loaded into a small truck without the deployment and costs of heavy equipment, while keeping personnel out of harm's way. Rapid transport and deployment of the system will give line crews additional tools in their arsenal. In addition, the condition assessment data will provide critical data for maintenance and construction planning, as well as budgeting.

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