News Releases

Toshiba and Alpine Enter Industrial Drone Service Business

To jointly develop inspection services for electrical infrastructure
5 Sep, 2016

Tokyo—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) and Alpine Electronics, Inc. (TOKYO: 6816) have announced that they will together bring Toshiba’s know-how in image processing and IoT technologies, and Alpine’s satellite navigation knowledge and GPS location technology, to an industrial drone business dedicated to inspection services for electrical infrastructure. The new project aims to start operation in fiscal 2017.

Inspections of power lines and steel towers are currently done visually by experienced workers. However it requires long travel times and can be dangerous, especially in mountainous regions. A drone able to record images from altitude, and do so quickly, will reduce operation time and reduce the risk of accidents. Alpine’s navigation control technologies, particularly for GPS, gyro function[1] and map data analysis, will allow the drones to fly safely and efficiently. Drone-taken images will be processed and analyzed using Toshiba’s IoT solution engine, ensuring the system can quickly recognize key inspection points like arc damage[2] to power lines.

Toshiba has applied know-how and experience gained in the energy business to develop an IoT platform that provides total solutions, such as visualization and utilization of sensor images and numerical data collection, accumulation and analysis. It will realize safe and efficient inspection work of electrical infrastructure and facilities and be supported by Toshiba’s image processing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Alpine, well known as an innovative car equipment maker, provides safe, secure and comfortable quality and technology, especially system integration capabilities and high-quality product development. Alpine’s navigation control technology will support safe drone flights.

Toshiba and Alpine will seek to take the new business to the global level.

Gyro function: Calculates the direction of a vehicle by measuring change in the angle of the vehicle over a unit of time
Arc damage: The mark of the arc discharge caused by lighting 
Drone-based Inspection Services Of Power Lines or Steel Towers
Drone-based Inspection Services Of Power Lines or Steel Towers