Sterblue Blog


Sterblue teams up with Spacept to offer a solution that combines satellite and drone imagery to manage vegetation around power lines

The central platform for asset inspections, Sterblue, upgrades its software solution by teaming up with Spacept, an AI software platform that processes earth observation satellite data, specifically for vegetation management. This partnership allows Sterblue to level up its geospatial capabilities to tackle vegetation encroachment around power lines. Sterblue’s customers now have access to a high value module involving satellite and drone insights fully integrated into the Sterblue Cloud platform.

As an end-to-end solution, geospatial data and location are core aspects at Sterblue. From creating virtual twins of real infrastructures, to monitoring asset health and detecting and classifying vegetation, the use cases are endless. And when it comes to the latter, the criticality stands out. With climate change becoming “the new normal” and with extreme weather conditions, drought and storms happening all around the world, managing vegetation around infrastructures can be half the way through avoiding a catastrophe.

"We are happy to collaborate with Spacept to provide the most integrated and performant solution to manage vegetation encroachment on the market. There is a huge challenge to solve here!" Geoffrey Vancassel, CEO at Sterblue

According to Business Insider France, power lines have caused more than 1,500 wildfires in California in the past six years. In 2018 alone, the wildfire season in California accounted for as much carbon dioxide emitted as an entire year’s worth of electricity, said the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). Unfortunately, evidence speaks for itself and the losses can be devastating not only environmentally and economically speaking, but also in terms of lives. 

The risk of power outages and wildfires caused by energy infrastructures operating in close proximity with vegetation calls for close surveillance. Clearing branches that hang over power lines and identifying trees that can fall onto the lines are just a few actions that can be taken once utility and energy companies gain visibility to vegetation encroachment. Although several techniques are available in the market for this purpose, these often fail to offer a viable solution. 

Ground patrols, for example, require driving along distribution grid networks and visually checking and identifying potential dangers in the area. As you can imagine, this method can be highly costly, time-consuming and susceptible to human error. More accurate, but still expensive, there are also lidar-based inspections performed either by helicopters or big drones. But again, the constraints of deploying such a large scale operation make it far from being attractive.

In partnership with Spacept, Sterblue is able to offer a much faster, cost-effective, rigorous and environmentally friendly solution for vegetation management, gathering the best of 2 worlds: satellite and drone imagery. Satellites raise high level alerts, whereas drones allow for a more complete and deeper assessment.

“Together, we are capable of inspecting infrastructures starting from orbit, on a global scale, and then going all the way down to flying within meters of a target of interest. Spacept can monitor the grid automatically on a global scale, while Sterblue can provide highly-detailed targeted inspection - it’s a perfect combination from two aerospace startups looking to change the world!” Sergiu Iliev, Founder and co-CEO/CTO at Spacept

Sterblue’s customers can manage the inspection of an entire asset network and its different needs from one single interface. The collaboration with Spacept puts Sterblue one step closer to offering a more and more comprehensive solution and becoming the central platform for industrial inspections.

Vegetation identified on satellite imagery in Sterblue Cloud platform. The colors classify the level of danger in proximity to the power line, from blue (low) to red (high)
Spacept platform