Concept to Commercialization R&D
Field Deployment of Advanced Technology

Project Detail

ULC Robotics conducted an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) inspection of a 12-acre substation in New York State. ULC’s pilots flew multiple sensors in a single, expertly executed inspection, delivering superior productivity and data capture while improving safety, system reliability, and utility efficiency.

unmanned aerial substation inspection drone

Industry : Electric Distribution

Business Areas : Substation Operations & Maintenance, Vegetation Management, Corporate Security

Project Date : September 2017

Aircraft : ULC Custom Developed Multirotor

Payload : 42MP DSLR, FLIR Thermal Camera

Altitude : 200ft. / 61m

Airspace : Class G

Challenges

Our electric utility customer identified several obstacles impeding their goal of more secure substations and enhanced operations efficiency.

  • Lack of current visual asset and condition data
  • Collection of infrared data requires the use of handheld devices
  • Spontaneous manual inspection by different groups affects productivity, incurs repetitive travel and labor costs and is a burden on resources

ULC proposed an in-depth aerial inspection and analysis of their substation and was able to identify several areas in which UAV are able to deliver significant improvements over traditional inspection methods.


By performing inspections using UAVs, 3-5 substations could be surveyed in just 1 day, far outperforming the current rate of 1 substation in 1 to 2 days using conventional inspection methods.


Inspection and Results

Using first-class, high-resolution and thermal imaging cameras mounted on a customdeveloped multirotor UAV, ULC Aerial Services provided:

  • Highly detailed visual data to help meet inspection requirements and identify issues with substation condition, vegetation growth, and security breaches.
  • High resolution visual and thermal aerial imagery of the substation, providing current information not available from Google Earth view or any out-of-date survey data.
  • A full set of geotagged visual images at a lower cost than current manned aerial data collection or traditional ground-based inspections, which can also integrate with existing system information software.

By utilizing the powerful technology employed by UAVs, ULC Aerial Services is able to promote a more efficient use of utility resources, enhance electric system reliability and security, and improve the safety of employees.

 

UAS Electric Substation Inspection

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