NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel system that uses an ultraviolet camera to detect, inspect, and analyze a corona discharge. This discharge signifies a power line fault, making the technology ideal for use in power line inspections. When coupled to a drone, the technology offers the ability to remotely monitor power lines in a cost-effective way. Adding GPS technology results in precise location of power line faults.
This technology is useful for a number of potential applications, most notably power line fault detection. The most novel feature is that it uses UV instead of IR, which has been problematic for corona discharge detection because there is too much interference from other sources. Ultraviolet detection offers images that isolate the location of the corona discharge with far greater precision.