Infrastructure Facility Inspection


Infrastructure facility inspection is often supported the visual checks by workers. These inspections require an enormous amount of time and highly skilled workers. It is difficult to secure the required personnel, and the number of inspections is only increasing as facilities age. There is currently a movement to apply a variety of technologies in an effort to streamline inspection and improve precision.

Amid this, infrastructure inspection that uses image, audio, and vibration data obtained by various sensors is drawing attention. In the area of social infrastructure, technology can be used in image inspection of large structures such as tunnels and bridges to capture minute defects more clearly than with the naked eye and detect abnormal sounds that the human ear cannot hear, achieving higher precision in predictive maintenance.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS) has a lineup of image sensors combining multiple features to meet various needs. SSS is also contributing to these fields by providing advanced OLED Microdisplays for maintenance inspections using drone operation and digital binoculars.


Inspection of high voltage power cables for electric discharge

When electric power infrastructure suffers age-related degradation, the damaged parts of its power cables may discharge electricity, which can then release ultraviolet radiation. With attention on this issue, many expect that UV image sensors can be used for inspection of high-voltage power cables for electric discharge. Using UV cameras makes it easier to identify deteriorated parts in a power system, contributing to the automation and streamlining of facility maintenance.

Inspection of high voltage power cables for electric discharge

Infrastructure facility inspection using drones

Conventionally, inspection of infrastructure facilities at high places has involved constructing a scaffolding and having personnel perform visual inspection. With drones, however, inspection costs can be reduced significantly and it is possible to perform high-precision inspection through multifaceted imaging, including from human blind spots.
There are expectations for the use of global shutter image sensors in such applications as they are compact, high resolution, and well suited to capturing images at high speed.

OLED Microdisplays also make it possible to confirm the drone’s field of view in real time, and are used in head mounted displays for fast-response, high-precision operation.

Infrastructure facility inspection using drones

Infrastructure facility inspection with digital binoculars

Visual observation using digital binoculars is also effective in the inspection of infrastructure facilities for transmission line towers. Among EVFs (electrical viewfinders) like these, SSS’s high-resolution OLED Microdisplays are ideal because they make it possible to detect the details in high contrast.

Infrastructure facility inspection with digital binoculars1
Infrastructure facility inspection with digital binoculars2

Equipment abnormality monitoring

The deterioration of plant facilities and buildings is a common social issue in developed countries. When mechanical failures occur in equipment or when cracks form due to friction or temporal degradation, there are signs in the form of sound vibrations. In the past, experienced engineers would predict these signs of failure, but as facilities become fully automated and equipment more complex, it has become difficult to conduct. To address this problem, SPRESENSE™ . board computer for IoT ensures that these failures will not be missed, having extensive calculation capabilities using high-speed A/D conversion of ultrasonic frequencies. SPESENSE™ also has the option to add a self-diagnostic function, which helps improve safety and productivity in automated plants with increasing complexity.

Tower monitoring

Today, towers are being constructed around the world for power, communications, aircraft transport, and various other applications. As these towers are at high risk for abnormalities and defects, there is a need for measures that can pick up signs of abnormalities early through AI processing of image, audio, and other data obtained from constantly operating sensors.

SPRESENSE™, board computer for IoT enables predictive monitoring for towers by constant usage under low power consumption, collecting data such as noise with the option to add image sensors with ultrasonic frequency, to perform advanced computational audio and image processing using its multi-core processors.

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