Test products: Sharper Shape, a provider of unmanned aerial utility inspection solutions, announced the global release of its latest product, the Heliscope™ 2.0. This new, on-board payload system expands the company’s aerial sensing portfolio into the manned helicopter industry. The Heliscope™ 2.0 integrates multiple sensor systems into a single, lightweight helicopter payload, capable of simultaneously collecting a range of data types required for utility maintenance and vegetation management inspections. Deployment of the Heliscope™ 2.0 enables optimized inspection and maintenance schedules, offering potential cost savings in those operational activities by as much as 50 percent.
The Heliscope™ 2.0 also stands out with its flexible mounting configurations and ability to adapt for mounting on many different helicopter types. For example, the system can be mounted on most Bell Jet/Long Ranger helicopters using its FAA-approved nose mount, or attached to numerous other typical helicopter models using its unique Glider aerodynamic sled. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permits mounting the Heliscope 2.0 to helicopters by simply using the cargo hook found on many helicopter models; this user-friendly method is approved by FAA under a classification for Gliders.
“While drones are a very flexible and safe method for performing utility inspections, there are situations where manned helicopters are the preferred vehicle to host sensors during certain utility inspections,” said Mikko Saarisalo, Sharper Shape’s VP of Drones and project lead for the Heliscope™ 2.0 project. “The new Heliscope™ 2.0 provides a solution for those situations where we need to operate over greater distances or in harsher environments than the drones can easily accommodate. This system takes our data harvesting efficiency and productivity up to a level unprecedented in the industry.”
Field data management is greatly simplified by the Heliscope™ 2.0 because it sends a consolidated data stream to its one removeable Solid State Drive. The Heliscope™ 2.0 integrates seamlessly with the Sharper Shape’s Cloud Optimized Remote Evaluation (CORE) processing software, which incorporates many automated tools that extract information with unprecedented efficiency. CORE includes algorithms to automatically analyze LiDAR point clouds and quickly generate utility vegetation management reports. Further, its unique Automatic Issue Detection (AID) machine vision software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to eliminate the daunting task of performing frame-by-frame image data inspection, allowing personnel to focus on other aspects of inspection compliance.
CORE applications work equally well with either Sharper Shape’s proven unmanned aerial inspection services, or with the new Heliscope™ 2.0 manned aircraft solution. According to Sharper Shape’s CEO Ilkka Hiidenheimo: “The fact that the Heliscope™ 2.0 integrates fully with our CORE software suite is a huge benefit. We can collect all the key inspection assets and measurements in one high-speed pass, and then easily pass these files to our CORE suite for automatic processing. Sharper Shape is the only company on the market that offers this range of options for collecting aerial data and for processing this data automatically into a wide range of digital report formats.”
The Heliscope™ 2.0 system is now available for immediate contract services in the U.S., South America, and Europe.
About Sharper Shape
Sharper Shape is the global leader in automated aerial utility inspection services. The company has U.S. offices in North Dakota and Maryland, as well as an international research and development facility near Helsinki, Finland. The company’s full stack of unmanned aircraft, sensor systems, and software services have now been augmented with the Heliscope™ 2.0 advanced manned aircraft data collection system. All Sharper Shape’s products and services have been specifically developed to meet the needs of the electric transmission and distribution industry. Sharper Shape’s Consolidated Linear Inspection service, Cloud Optimized Remote Evaluation software, Automatic Detailed Inspection service, and now the new Heliscope™ 2.0 deliver unrivaled inspection speed and cost effectiveness for electric utility customers.