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Endeavour Energy has announced a federally funded collaborative project, valued at $648,000, with Optus, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS Partner Unleash – to create a 5G powered solution to improve inspection speeds and safety of real-time faults in the electricity grid.

Through the project, which is funded through the Federal Government’s latest 5G innovation initiative; Optus, AWS, and Unleash live will develop a solution that leverages a combination of 5G, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), drone technology, and ultra-high definition (UHD) cameras, to monitor in real-time the physical state of infrastructure assets on the electricity grid. 

The solution is designed to keep the electrical supply safe and reliable, by identifying where preventative maintenance is needed to improve network safety and avoid costly and unplanned power outages.

On-site inspections are currently conducted by Endeavour Energy’s team of engineers, utilising a large fleet of vehicles, helicopters, and a team of technicians to physically identify and carry out remediation. 

Endeavour Energy’s electricity distribution network spans 47,000km of power lines, 500,000 power poles, and 32,000 substations across Sydney’s Greater West, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, the Illawarra and the South Coast of New South Wales. 

The initial trial period will monitor Endeavour Energy’s infrastructure assets across Penrith and Blacktown in New South Wales.

Managing Director at Optus Enterprise, Chris Mitchell, said, “This is a great example of AWS, Unleash-live and Optus coming together with Endeavour Energy to create an ecosystem of innovation that will have a lasting impact across Australia’s critical infrastructure. 

“We want to thank the Australian Federal Government for the critical role they have played in expediting the use of 5G innovation in Australia and look forward to working with our partners on delivering an innovative solution for Endeavour Energy that will make keeping the lights on a safer and more efficient job.”

Endeavour Energy’s Chief Customer and Strategy Officer, Leanne Pickering, said, “Finding a better way to deliver a safe, reliable and sustainable electricity supply is in our DNA. 

“By bringing together new technology with essential infrastructure services we are accelerating the transition to a modern grid and keeping downward pressure on our portion of customers’ electricity bills.”

Unleash live will leverage AI to analyse video content recorded with UHD cameras mounted on utility vehicles and drones leveraging Optus’ 5G network, the fastest 5G network in Australia. 

The solution is set to accelerate network remediation and improve worker safety, by remotely alerting Endeavour Energy to faults or damaged equipment on the electricity network that could be difficult for humans to manually identify. 

Examples of the faults that will be identified include rust damage, missing components, erosion of insulation, and cracks in the metal structure.

Visual insights generated from Unleash live’s platform will notify Endeavour Energy if remediation services need to be administered or equipment needs to be replaced without requiring engineers to undertake on-site inspections.

Unleash live CEO and Co-founder, Hanno Blankenstein, said, “The Unleash live enterprise platform is being used currently for many applications within the energy industry, for improved energy production through faster and more cost effective fault detection at Wind and Solar farms as well as the connected grid. 

“Power line inspection benefits from the application of A.I., improving safety and reducing the cost of maintaining such high value distributed assets.”

Unleash live’s solution will leverage Amazon Kinesis to collect and process large streams of visual data in real-time. 

The solution also uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud to provide secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud, and Amazon Simple Storage Service to store and retrieve the data.

Director of Enterprise in Australia at Amazon Web Services, Karl Durrance, said, “By leveraging the unmatched scalability of AWS, Unleash live can ingest and store large volumes of visual data from Endeavour Energy’s electricity network in real-time to enable technicians to make faster decisions and expedite maintenance. 

“We are incredibly excited to collaborate on this project, which is designed to improve safety during critical maintenance work and deliver more reliability for Australian energy customers.”

For more information on the project, visit www.endeavourenergy.com.au.

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