LiDAR on powerlines to locate encroaching vegetation and prevent bushfires in Victoria

Our aerial vegetation inspection program is a key part of how we keep our networks safe and reliable for our customers.

Two Bell 505 helicopters, combined with industry-leading technology, establish a unique aerial services capability to support Powercor/CitiPower/United Energy's annual vegetation management program.

Headed up by a team of highly-qualified pilots, the helicopters are fitted with Riegl sensor systems, which uses LiDAR scanning technology to accurately measure the distance between any tree branches or other vegetation and the electricity network.

The data creates a 3D image of the entire network and this is analysed by an internal team of highly-qualified data analysts to help inform Powercor/CitiPower/United Energy's annual tree-cutting schedule.

Each time the network is inspected, more is learned about the different environmental conditions and vegetation growing rates across the region.

This data helps ensure we identify precisely which trees to cut, by how much and when.

The helicopters, which fly above powerlines at just over 300 metres at a speed of about 130kmh, operate all year round.

Fast facts – the fleet

  • Aircraft: Bell 505 helicopters

  • Fleet size: Two aircraft

  • Crew: Two pilots per aircraft

  • Top speed: 232km/h

  • Slow cruise speed for LiDAR capture: 129km/h

  • Range: 617km

  • Aircraft length: 12.93m

  • Aircraft height: 3.25m

  • LiDAR system: RIEGL VUX-240

  • LiDAR scan speed: 1.8MHz and 400 lines per second

  • Data capture: 1TB per aircraft per day

Above: Explainer Video on how Powercor, CitiPower and United Energy are using Riegl Laser Scanning technology to map their power distribution networks and manage vegetation encroachment 



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VP-1 VUX240 14PR003-08-03-010-00
VP-1 VUX240 14PR003-08-03-010-00

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Riegl laser scanner for surveying and mapping

ABN: 62 629 123 879