New England Utility Flying High Over Drone Test

2016-08-19

New England Utility Flying High Over Drone Test
New England’s largest power provider may soon join the growing number of power utilities using drones to keep watch over their power lines.

Earlier this month, Eversource took part in a UAV demonstration along with New Hampshire-based drone operator Franz Loew of JBI Helicopter Services.

Onlookers watched as Loew launched a $2,000 DJI s1000 over several miles of Eversource power lines and sent several minutes of imagery to the utilitys engineering staff.

“With the UAV, we can actually get up close and find any infrastructure that might be a lot smaller,” transmission operations manager Carol Burke told Valley News. An insulator thats broken, hardware thats rusting, smaller items that would need to be replaced.

Eversource serves 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire which means tens of thousands of line miles, often over mountainous, rough terrain.

JBI already provides helicopter line inspection for Eversource but Loew says drones add a new dimension to his services.

We are able to get into environments like a helicopter may not be able to get into, Loew told TV station WMUR, following the 15-minute flight. He believes current aerial solutions havent even scratched the surface for the kinds of things we can use these UAVs for. Its an exciting time for everybody.

Eversource joins a growing number of utilities worldwide that are testing or buying drones to inspect power lines and substations. In California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced plans in May to test inspection drones to monitor electric infrastructure in hard-to-reach areas and … detect methane leaks across its 70,000-square-mile service area.

PG&E is working with NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the University of California, Merceds Mechatronics Embedded Systems and Automation Lab (MESA Lab), and Pipeline Research Council International to conduct testing of NASAs Open Path Laser Spectrometer sensor on a drone, writes DroneLife contributor James Richardson.

This past week, Sterlite Power — one of Indias largest utilities – announced a partnership with American company Sharper Shape to deploy the companys automated, drone-based inspection packages for power-line inspection.

Region:  Europe
Contry:  Great Britain
Category:  UAV


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Last week a delegation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle experts from the United Kingdom met with industry leaders in California to highlight the United Kingdoms regulatory leadership. The United Kingdom has sophisticated regulations governing the use of Unman
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