Transmission Line Inspection Using Drone

Techs: Hardware: Pixhawk 2.4.8 Flight Controller, FS-i6 transmitter and receiver, Pixhawk4 GPS module, 433 MHz radio telemetry,1000kv BLDC motors  ESCs, EKEN H9R 4K action camera. Software: Mission planner
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Team Lead: Robina Gul Afridi - (
Team Members: M Ajmal Tariq Khan, Robina Gul Afridi,  Abdul Baser                           
MSTeamURL: click here

Problem Statement

It is used for following real world applications. 1. Power line inspection aerial photography 2. Sports 3. Surveying 4. Military 5. Disaster management reconnaissance


We have made a fully equipped drone for power line inspection, it’s a high-speed drone and can fly up to 70mph, gives a flight time of about 20-23 min. it is a multipurpose drone and can be used for other purposes as well.


Safe and secured operation of transmission lines and power stations depends on power line inspection. The examination of power transmission lines includes two things, components of power line and its surroundings.

For the safe operation of power lines, there should be regular checking of components of the line to detect if there is any fault that different weather conditions can cause, for example, corrosion, breakage, mechanical damage, and most important, dust and pollution on insulator which causes contaminant layer results in damaging of insulator. Secondly, the surrounding vegetation should be checked regularly; for example, vegetation like tree branches or a tree near power lines should be cropped regularly because these vegetations can start a fire or if a bark of the tree near the transmission line is wet and a person touches it, it can cause an electric shock to the person and may interrupt the power supply.

Commonly, the Inspection of a transmission line is mostly conducted manually by foot patrol or helicopters, which is not very efficient and time-consuming, expensive, and presents an unknown danger to the inspection team. When these lines cross rivers, forests, and the higher areas that are unreachable for manual Inspection, manual Inspection of these lines becomes very difficult. So it is essential to ?nd more economical, effective and efficient ways for transmission line inspection.

In this project, we are using an unmanned aerial vehicle that is a drone. It becomes effortless and risk-free to conduct the Inspection of a transmission line across the areas mentioned above by connecting a camera to the UAV. This drone will give us a live video of the transmission line and images for later usage. It gives us a detailed view of the components of the transmission line and its surroundings. The drone is controlled by software installed on android and windows. We can program our flight controller using software called mission planner.


We designed the system as a complete unmanned aerial system for power line inspection.

The primary system of the drone is  

  • The ?ight control system 

The drone includes the ?ight control system. The ?ight controller is responsible for translating the ?ight control instructions for a safe ?ight, and it is also responsible for task management; it controls the communication system as well, which is based on radio frequencies using transmitter and receiver. 

The drone can perform three modes:

  •  Manual mode
  •  Hold altitude mode
  •  RTL mode

Manual ?ight: 

In manual mode, the drone is controlled by the user or the pilot through a transmitter having the line of sight.

GPS ?xed location (Hold altitude mode):

It works in manual mode , If the user wants the drone to maintain its altitude and location ,this flight mode will be used .in this flight  mode the drone will be at manual flight mode and it will maintain its altitude and location using GPS data.

GPS navigation (RTL  mode): 

It works in auto mode ,using GPS coordinated paths the drone performs autonomous ?ight, it means the drone is not controlled by any piolet and it is following the path de?ned by the user in the mission planner. In case of any error like battery low or signal loss  RTL return to launch mode  is used the drone will fly to its original position from where it took off .

After getting all the data(pictures, vedio) from the camera is then saved in the SD card .During the Inspection we will also be getting live video through the camera installed.

Software development:

The flight of the drone is monitored manually by the pilot, it can also be monitored by using a software called mission planner. Mission planner software is pre-developed for Pixhawk flight controllers. It is a ground control station GCS for quadcopters. It is a graphical user interface because it allows customizing parameters for different flights through laptops or mobile


In power line inspection, it is made sure that the Inspection is safe. These inspections are very vital. At first, there were only a few methods for power line inspection, e.g., manned aerial vehicle or by patrolling, but these methods are dangerous and expensive. As technology is growing, new methods have been adopted to carry out these vital inspections. One of the safest methods to carry out these inspections is by using unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV) images or live streaming. In this project, we are using UAV images, and it will also provide live video, which will help inspect the transmission line on the spot. The project is divided into two parts software and hardware. The hardware part contains a drone, and the mission planner is the software part. The proposed system will be fully equipped with the necessary payload to get a qualitative and quantitative inspection.

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