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APPA receives third patent tied to machine learning techniques

April 25, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
April 25, 2021

The American Public Power Association (APPA) has received a patent related to protecting the ability of public power utilities to use machine learning techniques for advanced analytics and benchmarking to improve safety.

This is the third patent APPA has received in its work to help ensure that public power utilities have long-term access to advanced analytical technologies for business-related decision making.

The application was initially submitted to the U.S. Patent Office in March 2018.

While it is likely that utilities will increasingly use specialized machine learning techniques to predict and prevent outages and equipment failure, this application is focused on increasing the likelihood that maintenance actions are safe. “Using machines to help us see patterns that aren’t obvious is a great role for technology and can help keep us safe,” said Alex Hofmann, Vice President, Technical and Operations Services, APPA.

“Through the system we have designed, our systems and workers will be able to take actions that are safer for a given situation. How many times has the weather drastically changed and lineworkers keep working without adjusting to the new risk, leading to injury?” Though participation in our eSafety Tracker service, APPA is helping public power utilities work together to build and train machine learning models to predict the safety-related outcomes of planned future maintenance actions. 

Hofmann is one of the inventors of the system that received the patents.