Utilities are constantly on the lookout for ways to use technology to improve processes and increase safety and efficiency to deliver reliable service to their customers. Drones are the newest way to help achieve that. Drones can be equipped with cameras to deliver high-resolution images and videos, as well as specialty sensors and other attachments to help utilities proactively identify, detect, and address environmental, structural, and equipment concerns. When integrated with a utility’s overall management strategy, drones can perform complete asset inspections, prioritize vegetation management schedules, control invasive vegetation via chemical spraying, and much more.
LiDAR uses light to collect data about a targeted area, such as an object’s dimensions and distance. With drone technology, LiDAR can be used to create 3D maps and models of a utility right-of-way. As a proactive approach, LiDAR data is acquired to detect vegetation heights and assess potential grow-in and fall-in risks to conductors. With LiDAR, point cloud data can be used to measure tree height, location and canopy as well as topography and other parameters. Given a set of clearance criteria, these assessments can identify locations and distances of vegetation encroachment along utility corridors, as well as provide geospatial locations for efficient routing purposes.
Spraying & Seeding
Drones are cost-effective, time-cutting solutions to large-scale vegetation spraying and seeding projects when paired with boots-on-the-ground expertise. With drones, applicators are able to significantly increase the acreage that can be sprayed with herbicide or seeded to plant compatible vegetation while reducing the amount of time and labor required to complete a project. Using drone technology has the added benefit of making job sites safer for the applicator, who has less exposure to the chemicals during the process and ground disturbance, in addition to the environmental benefits by yielding lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Our drone fleet can be equipped with high-resolution, thermal, and multispectral sensors. Thermal sensors can be deployed to detect faulty or hazardous equipment for hot spot analysis before that issue significantly degrades the performance of the system, or before the issue gives rise to a safety problem such as the risk of fire. Multispectral sensors can provide added benefits by assessing the health of nearby vegetation for possible fall-in risk, a proactive approach to improve reliability metrics.
Photo & Video
Cameras attached to drones can capture high-resolution images and video of hard-to-access areas of utility infrastructure, providing a bird’s eye view of poles and equipment features without navigating challenges such as access or hazardous terrain. With the ability to get close-range shots delivered to the utility, these images can be used to identify equipment hazards and damaged or missing hardware with high end zoom capabilities to determine remediation to the equipment, structure or facility.