AiDash is transforming vegetation management for National Grid using satellite analytics and AI
Managing thousands of miles of distribution lines is no easy task. Even today, vegetation management continues to be a challenging and expensive exercise for electric utilities. Conventional approaches to vegetation management, such as LiDAR-based helicopter patrols, drone flights, and manual inspections, are time-consuming, limited in scope, and expensive, to say the least.
Confronted with this challenge, National Grid, a Fortune 500 utility company, partnered with AiDash to deploy an end-to-end satellite-powered platform.
Understanding National Grid’s requirements
National Grid was looking for a solution that could transform the way they conducted vegetation management — a critical part of protecting customers from outages, keeping them safe, and protecting the environment. The goal was to know as much as possible about what’s growing along electric lines before storms, falling trees, or overgrowth can disrupt service. They sought complete visibility, scalability and agility, reducing costs and improving reliability in the process.
AiDash uses satellite data to enable utilities to manage vegetation growth near their transmission and distribution lines. With the help of artificial intelligence, AiDash Intelligent Vegetation Management System (IVMS) is able to predict vegetation growth up to 5 years in advance — creating plans for cycle and mid-cycle trims, hazard tree removals, and herbicides.
AiDash IVMS offers an end-to-end workflow and implements the vegetation management process itself, from deploying contractors to auditing their work.
Use case: Benefit for National Grid
For National Grid, the collaboration helped make vegetation management more efficient. In a Massachusetts trial deployment, AiDash was able to optimize National Grid’s trim cycle — the schedule of pruning vegetation near electric lines — from 5 years to nearly 6 years. That means less time and money wasted working on trees that don’t yet need to be trimmed.
Another analysis helped pinpoint the locations at risk of falling trees, which can cause up to 70% of power outages. AiDash assessed which areas were most likely to have falling trees and developed a list of hotspots that should be prioritized for hazard tree removal.
What our customer says about us
“We’re dealing with an asset that is very dynamic,” says Bertram Stewart, Vegetation Strategy Manager at National Grid. “We always have to be on the lookout to modify our approach to address some of the changes in vegetation.”
“We challenged AiDash with several scenarios to test their capabilities while looking to meet our objectives,” he adds. “They were very interested in our needs.”