How can AI detect hazards in substations that humans can’t see, or help the city save electricity? These were among the questions answered by the State Grid Shanghai Group at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference as it showcased the company’s technologies developed with the Internet of Things that is becoming the central nervous system of the city’s electricity supply.
One of these AI technologies was an infrared visual intelligence detecting system, developed by the company and Fudan University. It was the first time the company has shown the technology to the public.
The State Grid said that in the past inspections of power equipment such as substations and electric transmission lines were with the naked eye, yet there were many minor errors or damage to equipment which could not be seen, some of which could lead to dangerous consequences. Even if the workers were using an infrared detector, efficiency was quite low.
Now, with infrared cameras installed around the equipment, the AI system of the Internet of Things can do in-depth learning allowing it to memorize different patterns of infrared vision images.
“The infrared vision doesn’t miss out a single abnormal sign of the equipment,” said the company’s Zhu Shibei. “The serial number of all equipment scanned by the system will be recorded and the algorithm will compare the new images with the old to decide whether to trigger the alarm.”
Zhu said the system has reduced the elapsed time of inspections by 80 percent.
The other technology showcased at the WAIC was the Virtual Power Plant, a system to save more power for the city.
The system is implanted in major office buildings and residential complexes. It monitors the power consumption of users across the city and adjusts transmission plans accordingly to make it more efficient and energy-saving.
“If every household can save a little bit more electricity daily, I guess we can call the system a power generator,” Zhu said. “The system not only helped save electricity but also helped the users to save their money.”
Apart from the Internet of Things, the state grid also brought its maintenance robot and service “droid” to the conference. Visitors can ask “droid” not only about power issues but even stock markets and the weather forecast among other topics.