|Title||The Power Line Inspection Software (PoLIS): A versatile system for automating power line inspection|
|Author(s)||Martinez, Carol; Sampedro, Carlos; Chauhan, Aneesh; Collumeau, Jean François; Campoy, Pascual|
|Source||Engineering applications of artificial intelligence 71 (2018). - ISSN 0952-1976 - p. 293 - 314.|
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Computer vision - Machine learning - Power line inspection - Visual tracking|
A large amount of data, provided in the form of video data, is acquired during manned inspections flights of electric power lines. This data is analyzed by expert human inspectors to detect faults in the power lines infrastructure and prepare the inspection reports. This process is extremely time consuming, very expensive and prone to human error. In this paper, we present PoLIS: the Power Line Inspection Software, which has been developed with the objective of assisting the analysis of the data acquired during inspection flights. PoLIS is based on the cooperation between computer vision and machine learning techniques to automatically process video sequences acquired during inspection flights, resulting in a set of representative images per electric tower which we call Key Frames. These representative images can then be used for inspection purposes, leading to a drastic reduction of the human operators’ workload. At the core of the strategy lies an electric tower detector, which is in charge of estimating the location of the towers within the images based on the combination of a sliding window search technique and a supervised classifier. The location of the tower is then tracked using a tracking-by-registration algorithm based on direct methods, estimating the position of the tower in different images. Finally, different criteria are applied for defining whether the image corresponds to a Key Frame image or not. Extensive evaluation of the proposed strategy is conducted using videos acquired during manned helicopter inspections. The videos constituting this database contain several thousand frames representing both medium and high voltage power transmission lines in the infra-red (IR) and visible spectra. The obtained results show that the proposed strategy can reduce the large amount of data present in the inspection videos to a few Key Frames for each tower. It is also demonstrated that the learning-based approach proposed in PoLIS is appropriate for detecting electric towers, a process which is made faster and more robust by coupling it with a tower tracking algorithm. A Graphical User Interface allowing the application of PoLIS to user-provided videos is also presented in this paper, illustrating the whole process and the automated generation of an inspection report.