Since 2016, the use of drones for commercial purposes has taken the United States by storm. Drones have particularly shown great potential for
growth within the utility industry. Indeed, more utility companies are starting to use utility inspection drones to monitor and maintain their infrastructure.
The potential benefits of using drones within the utility industry are also significant. So far, experts associate drone use within the utility industry with advantages such as;
- Cost savings
- Improved staff safety
- Enhanced predictive maintenance
- Increased situational awareness of utilities
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness in operations
Experts warn that to see these benefits, utility companies must perceive drones as opportunities rather than disruptors. Nonetheless, the legal framework of drones will also determine how utilities use them.
Given the relative infancy of utility drones, constant changes and developments are inevitable. This article will highlight some of … Read the rest
For a long time, gaps in drone regulation had stonewalled the ability of utilities to use drones for certain applications. All this changed in 2016 when the Federal Aviation Administration issued new regulations paving the way for the use of drones in utilities.
While the new rules are only applicable for drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, the FAA gives the option for people/firms to apply for a waiver to this limitation as long as they can operate the drone safely and under the terms of the exception. It is this option that provides utilities with endless possibilities of incorporating unmanned aerial systems (UAS).… Read the rest
Drones In Utilities
The Electric Power Research Institute has been looking into the prospects of using drones in power line management. In October 2015, the research institute held a three-day workshop with different utility companies to discuss the options available.
By using simple drones, nothing more than a small helicopter model with a few sensors and a camera, they were able to carry out a safe, clear inspection of lines at a hydroelectric plant in the Catskill Mountains. This type of drone work is also used in farming and land surveying to gather aerial data.
This sounds great for technological progress in the industry but while there are potential benefits, there are also obstacles.… Read the rest