Drones are becoming more common, both at work and play. Not only are they a popular leisure activity, business organisations are finding innovative ways to use them in their daily operations. The Enel Group, a global leader in the energy sector, recently made history as the first company to integrate an autonomous drone security system. This was at its Torrevaldaliga Nord power plant in Civitavecchia, Italy.
Civitavecchia, which is on Italy’s western Tyrrhenian coast, some 60 km northwest of Rome, is home to one of the most advanced thermal power plants in the world. And it was here in late May that Enel launched its new dual drone technology system. The objective was to support the operation, maintenance and protection of the plant. This system will also improve its overall environmental performance, as well as increase its efficiency.
The drone technology was developed in collaboration with Convexum and Percepto, two Israeli startups that were discovered through the Enel Innovation Hub in Tel Aviv. The functions of the new system are twofold: to capture data and images in real time, and to prevent unauthorised drones from flying over the plant. Convexum created the prevention system, while Percepto developed a drone capable of performing automated flight missions. The Percepto system uses sensors in combination with computer vision algorithms to provide support for surveillance activities and plant inspection. The drones are controlled from the plant’s operating room to capture and send information, thanks to embedded sensors that collect images. This information is then subjected to video analysis algorithms and sent to the operators in real time.
The Enel Group’s proactive approach towards innovation and creating relationships with hi-tech startups is a resourceful way for the company to discover and scale up different technologies in its various energy divisions to increase overall efficiency. Fabio Tentori, Head of Enel Innovation Hubs, commented that the Group is “seeing the tangible achievements of the cooperation between Enel and some of the most interesting startups at international level.” Tentori also noted that “this cooperation makes it possible to circulate ideas and integrate them with the needs of our business.”
Enel’s mission to attract top talent and actively seek new technologies has proven to be a key success driver for the Group. Through the development of its growing network of Innovation Hubs, it is making significant advances in digitisation; activities that were previously a distant reality for other players in the energy field. Enel’s commitment to finding more progressive solutions and technology not only benefits overall efficiency, it also provides new opportunities for the Group’s employees. As new solutions are integrated into daily operations, they gain new skills and experience by working with the most advanced technology.
The introduction of drones to the Torrevaldaliga Nord power consolidates Enel Group’s role as a global leader in technological innovation. With the integration of the autonomous drone system, it is creating a more efficient data analysis process that improves security.