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Students win innovation competition

Innovativeness, feasibility, the commercial opportunities of the application and the wide range of use possibilities convinced the judges.
Photo: The members of the team, Sami-Petteri Karvonen (left), Joni Salo, Atte Korhonen and Heikki Kauhanen, study the Master's Programme of Geoinformatics at the Department of Built Environment.

SICK-TiM laser scanner in UAV inspections of overhead power lines, the competition entry of students from Aalto University, has won the innovation competition organised by SICK Oy. 

The team consisting of technology students developed a new way of using a small laser scanner in a robot helicopter and applying it to overhead power line inspections. Continuous monitoring of power lines prevents accident risks and improves the reliability of the electricity distribution network.

In the innovation, the observations made by the laser scanner were used simultaneously in specifying the flying route, avoiding obstacles and providing a rough point cloud. The concept provides a modern alternative to traditional power line inspections such as visual inspections by air. The innovation will also reform the power line inspection methods that use remote controlled aircraft.

‘The robot helicopters currently used for inspecting power lines are big and expensive – and for safety reasons they fly high above the trees and supporting pillars. We decided to turn the situation on its head. A small and inexpensive robot helicopter equipped with a laser scanner can inspect power lines as close to them as possible and provide the measurement material a lot more cheaply than earlier methods,’ says Atte Korhonen, the leader of the student team.

‘This is a big thing for the Masters Programme in Geoinformatics. Professor Henrik Haggrén, Senior University Lecturer Petri Rönnholm and I can only say that it is wonderful to work with such extremely talented students. They only need a little push and an opportunity, and they will go and innovate miracles,’ says Hannu Hyyppä, Professor of Measuring and Modeling for the Built Environment.

Further information:

Atte Korhonen, tel. +358 45 634 6512, [email protected]

Professor Hannu Hyyppä
Aalto University, Department of Built Environment
Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning
[email protected] or tel. +358 50 512 2520

SICK Oy:
Ari Rämö, tel. +358 40 9008 030, [email protected]

SICK Oy was established in 1991. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of SICK AG and employs 31 people in Finland. In addition to its products, the company also provides professional expertise in programming. To honour its 25 years of operation, the company wanted to support the development of students’ expertise and organised an innovation competition for educational institutions in 2016.

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