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A Nebraska Start-Up Eyes Power Line Inspection

    The U.S. electrical grid has been called the largest interconnected machine on Earth. The National Academy of Engineering put it at the top of its list of greatest 20th century engineering accomplishments. With great size comes great complexity, however, Silicon Prairie News reports.

    Over 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines link thousands of electricity-generating plants to homes, schools, companies and all manner of buildings, street lights, stoplights and other nodes of vital infrastructure.

    A typical utility company only has the capacity to patrol 10 percent of its system, according to Dusty Birge, the CEO of Kearney, Nebraska, start up Snappy Workflow. He believes the company’s technology can do better.

    Here’s how it works: a proprietary data-collection software helps utility companies automate thermal and visual inspections of power lines via roof-mounted thermal cameras on vehicles. Birge estimates that this technology could help companies inspect their electrical grids ten times faster.