Power Grid

As part of our framework with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), Cyberhawk provides inspection and digital asset management solutions for the SSEN transmission overhead line and substation network in Scotland. In addition to our highly skilled pilots and detailed engineering knowledge, Cyberhawk was selected by SSEN because of our pioneering asset management software, iHawk. This began life in 2012 as a cloud-based visual asset management solution, focused on tranmission lines. Over the last six years, iHawk has been significantly developed to encompass additional functionality such as the generation and execution of maintenance work orders, assisting in the management of electricity, safety, quality and continuity regulations (ESQCR) and the asset management of substations. The software has also been further developed and can now be used with tablets in the field, as well as from a desk.

Provision of ruggedized tablet computers, with software for SSEN lines persons to complete the following: Ground or climbing condition inspections; ESQCR inspections; Repair and maintenance work orders;

The scope SSEN high-voltage transmission network (132kV – 400kV) includes more than 11,000 towers and 120 substation sites. Within SSEN, Cyberhawk’s services include: Detailed UAV tower inspections each year


Provision of ruggedized tablet computers, with software for SSEN fitters to complete the following at substations:

Asset specific condition inspections
ESQCR inspections
Site security inspection
Oil risk inspections
Repair and maintenance work orders
Provision of a cloud based visual asset management system, iHawk, which:

Hosts all new inspection information from UAVs, lines persons and fitters
Hosts legacy inspection information from historic sources such as spreadsheets and helicopter patrols
Allows inspection information to be queried, and the generation of repair and maintenance works orders
Hosts ESQCR data allowing identification of high risk sites
Provides ability to find the tower location using distance to fault information
Provides analytic network data

UAV tower inspection

Our inspection solution involves a two-man team, consisting of a pilot and an industry-qualified engineer, mobilizing on-site to capture the visual data required using a UAV. Whilst the pilot is flying, the engineer views what the UAV sees on a separate screen in real-time, to ensure the required data is being captured.

The benefits of using UAVs for transmission inspection include:

Significant cost reductions, thanks to the speed of inspection and reduced downtime
Reduced safety risks, by removing the need to work at height, near live lines or in generally hazardous areas
The ability to quickly gain a huge volume of highly detailed imagery
Engineers reporting to an agreed defect standard, meaning one centralized, consistent approach

Data capture in the field

Not all inspections on SSEN networks are completed by UAVs. Every year, SSEN lines persons also complete condition assessments on towers by ground patrols and climbing inspections, and ESQCR inspections. At SSEN substations, fitters also complete condition assessments, site risk inspections and ESQCR inspections.

To ensure these inspections are completed to a high standard and data is captured consistently with photographic evidence to show each defect, Cyberhawk developed iHawk, software to be used on ruggedized tablets in the field by SSEN’s lines persons and fitters.

The software is intuitive, easy to use and has been created specifically to deal with outdoor condition inspections in the field.

All data is captured in the same format, hosted on the iHawk cloud viewer and used to generate repair and maintenance work orders. These work orders are in turn sent to tablet computers in the field for completion. Once SSEN lines persons have executed the work, images are taken of the repaired component and uploaded back into iHawk for manager approval, maintaining an up-to-date asset condition database. This technology creates ‘one source of truth’, meaning that lines persons in the field are seeing exactly the same data as an asset manager back in an office.

iHawk in action

The key advantage of iHawk is its ability to convert a huge volume of data into powerful and easy to navigate management information, for improved decision-making and decision justification.

Displaying the data on iHawk also gives an at-a-glance view of the asset portfolio, using a map-based interface to highlight location, and colour coded reporting matrix to highlight defect status. This helps simplify the asset management process, allowing managers to focus on operational work.

Additionally, the data captured using iHawk and iSim (our software development specifically for substation asset management) will be integrated into a new asset management system being deployed with in SSEN.

Ian Gray, Head of Transmission Operations and Maintenance at SSEN said: “SSEN has been working with Cyberhawk since 2009, and our confidence in the team’s ability continues to grow. Not only are the experienced pilots able to safely and efficiently capture an extremely intricate level of detail, but the addition of iHawk means we have fit-for-purpose, intuitive asset management software. We regularly refer to the data contained in iHawk to make decisions and develop maintenance schedules.”

Check out the gallery below to see a few examples of iHawk in action.


Power Grid

Cyberhawk was tasked by Siemens, a leading offshore wind energy company, to carry out close visual inspections of three converter stations of transmission system operator TenneT, at the European Economic Zone in December 2016. Cyberhawk was chosen due to our previous experience in successfully inspecting offshore turbines and met masts as well as our visual asset management software, iHawk.

The alternatives, which include using rope access or elevated platforms, would not only have increased man hours on site but also involved working at height which would expose people to more danger. The harsh winter conditions also presented challenges for the pilot and are the reason we mobilize only our most highly trained personnel offshore.

Cyberhawk mobilised a two-man team to undertake the UAV inspections, completing the entire project in seven days which is less than half the time traditional methods would take.


The use of our asset management software, iHawk, allowed Siemens to access high definition images of the whole structure and quickly see the defects identified. This in turn helped quick and effective asset management decisions to be made.

Thanks to Cyberhawk’s inspection team working closely and effectively with a third-party maintenance team, in a single mobilisation, the project proved to be extremely time and cost efficient for Siemens.


Cyberhawk was recently commissioned by a major engineering consultancy to provide an aerial survey of an active Quarry situated in Fife, Scotland.


Power Grid

As part of its framework agreement with SSE, Cyberhawk provided the electricity transmission and distribution operator with topographic survey data and high-resolution aerial photography from over 30 of its substations all over northern Scotland. The projects involved surveys of both new builds and extensions and have been ongoing since 2012.

Mainly multi-rotor UAVs were used to carry out the work and fixed-wing UAVs were also utilized on the larger sites. UAVs allow rapid mobilization and data capture, offering a unique view of the site which provides decision-makers with valuable, actionable data. The deliverables are accessed through Cyberhawk’s cloud-based asset management software, iHawk, which allows all personnel involved in the project to access to the data from any location – often reducing the need for site visits.

The workscopes typically require orthophotos, panoramics and spherical imagery, acquired on a three monthly basis, as well as aerial video and aerial oblique images at some sites. The locations, which range from one to 75 hectares, are often in remote areas and active construction sites.


It was deemed that gathering data utilising Cyberhawk’s UAV solution was the best and safest method for surveying the area. Cyberhawk has a framework with SSE for aerial survey and inspection and has extensive experience in providing aerial survey services in the electricity utilities sector. Since the first construction progress project in 2012 we have had very positive feedback from the client and this service is now requested for all new construction works on its substations.

Capturing regular high-resolution aerial imagery provides SSE and all stakeholders with valuable information on the current progress of the project. As well as access for contractors and consultants, to track and forward plan, the imagery is used on site for site orientation, planning meetings and to assist health and safety.


Power Grid

In March 2015, Cyberhawk was called upon to carry out close visual inspections of 40 distribution towers for a UK energy giant in its southern region south of England. Cyberhawk was one of the first companies to be granted approval to fly in congested areas by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and under CAOSC, we are able to fly our UAVs in crowded areas to within 10m of vehicles, structures and people not under our control.

Very few drone operators would have been able to complete this operation due to the towers being within 50m of major roads, meaning Congested Areas Operating Safety Case (CAOSC) procedures applied. Traditionally, this inspection and maintenance activity would have been carried out by a full-size helicopter and linesman team, however, this was not viable due to the tower's proximity to a major road.

The necessary permissions had to be secured from each individual landowner before Cyberhawk could undertake this CAOSC scope of work..


Cyberhawk’s asset management software, iHawk, allowed the client to quickly understand the condition of each tower and access high definition images of each defect, as well as engineering commentary. These images also allowed the client to see the severity of each defect and therefore prioritize repairs, which would not have been possible through a linesman’s analysis.

The use of UAVs significantly improved safety levels by reducing the requirement for personnel to climb the towers and work at height. Thanks to Cyberhawk’s ability to inspect eight towers per day, versus a linesman who can only climb two to three towers a day, SSE also reported that the project was successfully completed with significant time and cost savings.


Power Grid

Cyberhawk was also required to assess the condition of each structural member on the 275kV line in accordance with the National Grid Technical Specification for steelwork inspection on a bar by bar basis.

Cyberhawk’s asset management software, iHawk, allowed the client to view the tower components in accordance with the agreed defect standard, and access all the high definition images of each defect as well as detailed engineering commentary.

An electricity transmission and distribution network based in Northern Ireland called upon Cyberhawk to conduct close visual inspections of 18 towers and grade the condition of each structure.


During this project the client compared results with linesmen who climbed a percentage of the towers Cyberhawk inspected. This enabled the client to get a high level of confidence in the quality of our UAV inspection results. The team successfully delivered a detailed condition based assessment of each tower to allow the client to prepare for a refurbishment of the line.

Thanks to Cyberhawk’s ability to inspect four towers per day versus a linesman who could only climb two, the client also reported that it was successfully completed with significant time and cost savings.