ANYmal Monitors High-Voltage Transmission at RTE

RTE is exploring autonomous robotic inspections for selected offshore and urban substations, and high-voltage direct current power substations. RTE and ANYbotics promote more sustainable power transmission facilities by collaborating to show how ANYmal improves safety and increases efficiency. Through scheduled, autonomous inspections, ANYmal acquired real-time thermal, visual, acoustic, and frequency data at specific installations. Early detection of potential irregularities through ANYmal’s auto diagnostics demonstrated the value of avoiding equipment failures through robotic inspection and asset monitoring.

RTE – Operating and Developing Power Grids for 20 years

RTE is France’s transmission system operator, in charge of an impressive infrastructure: over 105 000 km of high and ultra-high-voltage lines spanning the whole of France and 50 interconnections with neighboring European countries.  The health and safety of their workers are a high priority at RTE. Consequently, innovative solutions that improve efficiency and reduce risks, are important to RTE’s digitization and automation strategy. This is why RTE is evaluating the ANYbotics robotic inspection solution.

ANYmal Shows its Mettle at RTE’s Innovation Laboratory

ANYmal, the innovative robotic inspection solution from ANYbotics, increases safety, improves efficiency, and facilitates more sustainable power transmission facilities through autonomous, real-time digital inspections and integrated data workflows.

To accurately evaluate ANYmal’s value, in terms of mobility, navigation prowess, and data-acquiring capabilities, RTE and ANYbotics collaborated to deploy ANYmal at three specific ‘replica’ installations at Campus Transfo, RTE’s technological and industrial laboratory. Campus Transfo is the largest European campus dedicated to training, expertise, and innovation in the field of electricity transmission.

One of ANYmal’s advantages is its ability to navigate established industrial facilities. This meant that no structural changes were required and that RTE could set up and configure ANYmal to carry out inspection missions safely, quickly, and easily.

ANYmal RTE autonomous inspection

ANYmal conducting routine inspection missions at RTE’s Campus Transfo facility.

ANYmal Safely Conducts Routine Inspections during Operations

ANYmal’s inspection missions were pre-configured to acquire real-time thermal, acoustic, and frequency data from various equipment and instruments, and to monitor assets for potential irregularities.

Liquid levels, gauges, and levers were visually monitored and thermal inspections were conducted on the electrical shelves. ANYmal provided early detection of potential irregularities using auto diagnostics, which facilitated alerts that allowed operators to safely prepare their protocols prior to costly malfunctions.

Full autonomy and extreme mobility allowed ANYmal to monitor and assess assets in unsuitable conditions, adverse weather conditions, and darkness, thereby preventing operators from taking additional risks. In the high-voltage conversion stations for example, where installations are normally de-energized to enable human interventions due to excessive electromagnetic fields, ANYmal safely conducted routine inspections during operations.

For RTE, the objective was really to evaluate, in representative situations, the first possibilities and the technological maturity of the autonomous inspection robotic solution. For us, it was a real success. – Jean-Yves Astic, R&D Program Director at RTE.

ANYmal’s additional capability for both manual and remote teleoperation allowed RTE to operate ‘outside’ their routine operations and to quickly detect any on-site incidents. ANYmal conducted numerous indoor and outdoor inspection missions on multiple floors. Each 20-minute mission comprised up to 35 inspection points and included several en-route tests such as obstacle avoidance, operating under dark, and spraying water conditions.

ANYmal RTE data collection

ANYmal uses auto diagnostics to monitor assets for potential irregularities.

Improving Safety and Mitigating Risk Going Forward

Based on ANYmal’s performance and results, RTE is exploring implementing autonomous robotic inspections for their offshore electrical substations, electrical substations in dense urban areas, and high-voltage direct current power substations. This is part of RTE’s ongoing initiatives to improve safety and mitigate access challenges, confined spaces, the presence of toxic gases, marine atmospheres, and strong electromagnetic fields across their facilities.

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