Machine learning approaches are proactively mitigating the risk of bushfires caused by powerlines, ensuring the safe and regular supply of power to business and communities.

Altavec has been the trusted partner of Australian utilities for more than 30 years, delivering excellence in geospatial services via advanced geoanalytics. With a technology platform to empower bestpractice asset management, complex data is simplified to provide informed and actionable insights.

Previously known as Geomatic, the new brand name Altavec reflects the provenance of past AusNet ownership and embraces the new ownership by Tech Mahindra. Victorian-based energy network operator AusNet chooses to partner with Altavec to mitigate bushfire risk through proactive vegetation management.

Helping to manage 54,000km of AusNet powerlines across the state of Victoria, Altavec uses AWS Machine Learning on the Amazon SageMaker platform to improve and scale its vegetation classification and analysis process.

Since 2009, Altavec has been capturing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data – a remote-sensor method also known as laser or 3D scanning.

This feature-rich data is used to create a 3D model of the entire AusNet network, helping to identify vegetation growth that needs to be trimmed for bushfire safety.

Automating the process of LiDAR classification has been an area of development undertaken by Altavec over the past 12 months, to deliver scale, speed, and accuracy improvements.

Automating LiDAR data classification

Partnering with the Amazon Machine Learning Solution Labs team, Altavec and AWS used Amazon SageMaker to build deep learning models to automate the classification of the LiDAR data in five specific vegetation management categories. This resulted in 80.53 per cent accuracy of classifying data across these categories, saving Altavec customer AusNet, an estimated $500,000 in annual labour costs.

The highly sophisticated innovative solution developed by the joint Altavec and AWS delivery team significantly reduces the hours spent manually correcting data points by up to 80 percent, allowing vegetation classification and analysis outcomes to be achieved faster and at a much greater scale.

Nathanael Weldon, Machine Learning Specialist at Altavec, presented these recent machine learning advancements at the AWS Summit Online Australia and New Zealand in May 2022, with the session ranked in the top two attended by data scientists. Altavec now welcomes the invitation to present at Amazon’s Re-invent conference later this year in Las Vegas.

Already supporting power companies Ausgrid, Horizon Power and others across Australia, Altavec is preparing to expand its solutions across APAC and the world. It is working with energy providers in New Zealand, Europe and the US to provide innovative solutions that keep networks compliant and communities safe in an ever-changing operating environment.

Altavec provides end-to-end services for asset assessment including capture of LiDAR and imagery, identification of defects, field management systems including auditing and compliance, digital twins, and locational data services. All with the aim of keeping critical infrastructure, customers, and communities safe. Altavec is delivering the digital future to utilities now.

This sponsored editorial was brought to you by Altavec. For more information, please visit or contact Andrea Powley, Head of Sales at Altavec on 0427 166 551 or [email protected].

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