For electrical utilities to establish their own drone inspection program, Measure has launched a new drone toolkit designed for linemen.
The “Electrical Utilities Toolkit,” which Indianapolis Power and Light has been using since 2016, trains and equips linemen to identify structural defects and damage on transmission lines, towers and substations, without the time, expense and risk of mobilizing a helicopter or climbing a pole to conduct an inspection.
The kit includes the following components: a drone ready for flying; a comprehensive training guide on inspecting transmission, distribution and other critical infrastructure while avoiding electromagnetic interferences; a pre-installed flight control application, Measure Ground Control, that makes flying automated and repeatable; an ongoing subscription based support that includes weekly reports on pilot and equipment activity; and an on-demand help desk from either a hotline or the service provider’s web portal providing linemen with in-field troubleshooting and regulatory assistance.
In 2016, Measure teamed up with AES Corporation to develop a drone inspection program. These solutions were used in one of the company’s subsidiaries, Indianapolis Power and Light.
“AES has been able to identify potential equipment issues using Measure’s drone aerial footage of our transmission assets,” said the subsidiary’s transmission operations engineer Jessica Franklin. “The use of drone technology allows us to quickly identify these issues without taking an outage. This benefit extends into the reduction of hazardous man-hours as well.”
Using Measure’s online portal, operation managers can review inspection results over a FedRAMP-approved cloud storage. A geographic layer shows the location of the inspected infrastructure, with images of the asset, as well as longitude, latitude, inspection status, damage type and notes. A comprehensive historical record can also be stored and accessed in the portal.