Detecting faults with AI: 50Hertz and Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland test new technologies

50Hertz and two Fraunhofer member institutes of the research factory “Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronik Deutschland (FMD)” join forces to test technologies in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to detect fault on overhead lines earlier and therefore fix them more efficiently Their objective is to have algorithms automatically assess the recordings from different inspections. Both partners decided to set up a project named “CoDro” for this purpose.

The control and maintenance of overhead lines will be supported by AI in the future.

CoDro stands for Common Algorithms for Autonomous Drones Operation. This way, continuous static monitoring should be developed in the future by means of high-resolution static images of overhead power lines. Based on these image data, AI algorithms and trained neural networks can locate and classify possible defects. A first test was carried out for corrosion damage on pylons.

The two FMD member institutes in Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) contribute their professional expertise to this 50Hertz project. While Fraunhofer HHI is responsible for the AI-based automatic detection of corrosion faults, Fraunhofer IZM is working on the image database, the labelling/annotation tool and the web platform. In parallel, 50Hertz is providing extensive image material gathered during drone and helicopter flights for the creation of the database. A web-based tool for labelling and image management has already been developed from these images.

About 50Hertz

50Hertz operates the electricity transmission system in the north and east of Germany, which it expands as needed for the energy transition. Our extra high voltage grid has an electrical circuit length of about 10,490 kilometres, or the distance between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. The 50Hertz control area covers the Länder of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, as well as the city states of Berlin and Hamburg. Within these regions, 50Hertz and its 1,300 employees ensure that 18 million people are supplied with electricity around the clock. 50Hertz is a forerunner in the field of secure integration of renewable energy: in our grid area, more than 60 percent of the consumed electricity is generated from renewable sources; by 2032, it is our goal to securely integrate 100 percent renewable energy into the grid and system over the course of a year. The shareholders of 50Hertz are the Belgian holding Elia Group (80 percent), which is listed on the stock exchange, and the KfW bank group with 20 percent. As a European TSO, 50Hertz is a member of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

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About FMD

The Forschungsfabrik Mikroelektronic Deutschland (FMD) is a cooperation between the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics and the Leibniz institutes FBH and IHP. Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), FMD networks the research and development infrastructure as well as the technological know-how of its eleven member institutes and is, therefore, the leading provider of applied research, development and innovation in the field of micro- and nanoelectronics in Germany and Europe. FMD offers R&D services, application solutions and new technologies at a high level of technical maturity from a single source to a broad customer base. 

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