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Energy: CPCS innovates to facilitate electricity network mapping in Sub-Saharan Africa using artificial intelligence

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Energy experts at CPCS are developing a unique robot who can map a city’s electricity distribution network to make electrification planning and maintenance simpler and better for African public power utilities.

Today, very few power utilities in sub-Saharan Africa have a digitized map of their distribution network. This is generally carried out years after commissioning and requires the mobilization of a large staff in the field to collect detailed information on the electric assets. This method is time consuming, expensive, and prone to many errors. The robot that is developed by CPCS will enable to map out the distribution network of a locality in real time, in just a few days rather than months, with greater precision thanks to artificial intelligence. Innovating is part of the solution.

Key points:

  • Mounted on a vehicle, the robot roams the streets mapping the electrical infrastructure, including overhead lines and medium/low voltage equipment
  • The technology consists of high-resolution cameras, GPS and distance sensors
  • This robot offers a better, cheaper and faster method to map with greater precision electricity distribution networks

When you zoom in, many African power utilities lack accurate and detailed maps of their local electrical distribution networks. Without reliable maps, it’s harder for energy authorities and energy producers to improve the quality of service to the public and how electrical grid is managed.

How this technology came about

CPCS and the Agence Sénégalaise d’Electrification Rurale (ASER) were among the winners of the first Digital Energy Challenge organized by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in 2021.

The challenge awards projects that foster innovation and digitization in the Energy sector and is open to start-ups and public power utilities in partnership with an innovative technology or service provider.