MIR Innovation and Hydro-Québec develop powerline balancing inspection drone

MIR Innovation and Hydro-Québec develop powerline balancing inspection drone

Canadian Hydro-Québec subsidiary MIR Innovation (Maintenance, Inspection and Robotics), has developed a device that can lift a sensor and land it on an energised power line.

The Linecore sensor and multirotor that took it there balance on and test the line as they roll along it.

Power lines exposed to coastal environments and extreme weather wear out, quickly. Therefore, more inspections are required. An accurate assessment of the condition of the lines make purchasing and forecasting decisions more reliable.

Another clear case where a robot flying into the job reduces time, expense and risk. Consequently, MIR innovation and Hydro-Québec has covered the holy trinity of drones dull, dangerous and dirty.

It seems like this is a niche application that fulfils a need. As industries become familiar with robots, we are going to see break out uses probably not considered by drone advocates.

Furthermore, this flight could be completely autonomous. The drone, charging itself from the powerline, just crawling along getting the job done twenty-four hours of the day. Finally, it might head for home if the weather turns.

Drones in boxes commanded from afar, keep an eye out for them. They are coming to take your drone driver job maybe.


In the words of Hydro-Québec.

LineCore determines the condition of the galvanic protection of transmission and distribution line conductors, even when energised. It accurately measures the thickness of the layer of zinc across an entire span, detecting anomalies caused by corrosion with a minimum of sampling.

It is the perfect tool for obtaining detailed information on the condition of aluminium conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) conductors.

The data collected by LineCore can be used to calculate conductor degradation and help evaluate its remaining service life.


  • Continuity of service: Non-destructive inspections without sampling or service interruptions
  • Ease of use: Simple-to-use software for calibration, inspection, archiving and analysis
  • Ease of interpretation: Results categorised into five grades of wear
  • Versatility: Compatible with all types and gauges of ACSR conductors
  • Flexibility:
    • Embedded on LineROVer – Runs along single conductors and ground wires, able to negotiate splice sleeves
    • Embedded on LineScout – Runs along conductor bundles, single conductors and ground wires and able to negotiate most obstacles
  • Ruggedness: Designed for use on worksites and in hostile environments

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Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.