New robot can predict power outages before they occur

The machine will make power grid evaluations safer and more reliable.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of power grids.jpg
Representational image of power grids.


A new grid analytics company in Canada’s Waterloo is aiming to predict power outages before they even occur by using robotics.

This is according to a report by CTV News published on Friday.

The first in the world

“Enerza is the first in the world to provide a conditional risk assessment tool to electrical utility providers through autonomous on-wire robotic monitoring,” states the firm’s website.

The company hopes that its robotic technology will make power grids safer and more reliable. This includes making work conditions on the lines less dangerous and more efficient.

“We’re trying to do something new that hasn’t been done before,” told CTV News Chief Technology Officer Anson Maitland. “By having a device like this you are removing workers from dangerous work environments.”

Increased safety can come from changing manual inspections to robotic ones. This would effectively remove the element of human error and allow for safer automated processes.

“The most common inspection method now is primarily done manually,” added Maitland. “People go out in rural areas, they have to go out in ATV trucks, and they’re basically inspecting the line visually.”

Enerza’s solution would combine many technological advancements to do the job formerly done by humans.

“[The robot] would be able to use the propellers to fly itself up to the line and would be able to attach the line,” explained to CTV News the executive. “[It would use] things like thermal cameras, depth cameras, and then a combination of other stereoscopic cameras in order to measure distances.”

Predicting pitfalls

Enerza says its new robot can detect failing infrastructure and potential future grid issues like branches growing too close to the electrical lines. As such, it can predict any pitfalls before they even occur.

The new solution is also cost effective and extremely efficient.

“We enable utilities to not only cover the whole grid but also help them reduce costs by at least 1220x and increase efficiency by at least 200 percent,” states the company’s website.

Best of all, all the firm’s data is readily available in real time.

“Compared to other methods currently used for asset or vegetation management, you don’t have to wait for data to be processed and delivered to you, have access to grid data in real time through Enerza’s Insight Dashboard,” says the firm’s website.

The company has an ambitious mission: “A sustainable future free of power outages is within reach. Grid reliability and resiliency are high priority concerns for electrical utilities and the public at large. We all stand to gain from a proactive approach to grid health.”

Enerza is not the first technological power outage solution. In 2022, China's state-owned power grid company introduced a new AI system that resolved power issues in just three seconds, a process that used to take six to 10 hours.

The community power grid had multiple sensors, each equipped with its own “brain" capable of choosing autonomously the most efficient and viable power supply routes. This technology removed the need for human intervention, significantly speeding up all grid-related activities.