eSmart Systems supports Axpo in accelerating the digital transformation of the electrical grid

eSmart Systems, a leading provider of grid inspection AI-powered software, supports Axpo in a service agreement to digitalize overhead line inspections. Axpo, Switzerland's largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading, has launched an ambitious programme called Grid 4.0 to develop new approaches for optimized operation of future power grids.

Operational scale-up after a successful pilot

eSmart Systems first started working together with Axpo in April 2020 with a pilot project for the AI-powered grid inspection tool Grid Vision®. Axpo experts tested the solution in daily operations, to prove its value in the end-to-end inspection process.

Leveraging drones, aerial images, and Axpo experts’ knowledge through Grid Vision’s advanced AI models for defect detection on power lines, Axpo adopted a collaborative AI approach. It enabled the subject matter experts to utilize AI-generated image observations to save time and increase precision.

After this successful pilot, Axpo plans to roll out Grid Vision in its entire grid operations, where maintenance experts will use the virtual inspection software for the inspection of 1900 km overhead lines. Axpo’s maintenance teams also perform power line inspections for other grid operators such as Swiss Transmission System Operator Swissgrid.

“Grid Vision will provide great support for our powerline inspections. We see real value using the tool in our daily work, through improved visibility and awareness of our assets’ condition and the continuous learning of the algorithms driving better asset performance management”, said Nicolas Naef, Head of Maintenance Group Power Lines East at Axpo and Drone Pilot at Axpo.

Operational ramp-up commenced in May 2021 with the deployment of eSmart Systems’ Grid Vision AI-based solution to support the full inspection and maintenance workflows.

“This phase will be about much more than improving inspection processes. We strive to provide a seamless experience from planning inspections through to analyzing inspection results, working closely with Axpo to integrate into current architecture and analytics tools like maintenance dashboards.”, said Tore Lie, Chief Product Officer at eSmart Systems.

“We are excited about implementing Grid Vision into our operations. The cooperation with eSmart Systems enables the move from procedural to condition-based maintenance and will be an important step to ensure a highly reliable grid in the future” explains Johannes Manser, Head Business Intelligence and Data Analytics, and programme manager of Axpo’s digital transformation programme Grid 4.0.

About eSmart Systems

eSmart Systems is a leading provider of AI-powered solutions for the inspection and maintenance of critical infrastructure. With our software solution, Grid Vision®, we revolutionize how Power Utilities operate and maintain their transmission and distribution networks. eSmart Systems offers a data-driven and condition-based approach to infrastructure inspections that can be managed from one single platform. We support companies worldwide by ensuring reduced costs, safer inspections, and prolonged asset life.