Innovation From Concept to Commercialization
Field Deployment of Advanced Technology

Case Study

Increasing Substation Efficiency Using Unmanned Aerial Inspection

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 T&D

BUSINESS AREAS ADDRESSED:

  • Substation Operations & Maintenance
  • Vegetation Management
  • Corporate Security

SOLUTION IMPROVED:

  • System reliability
  • Safety and security
  • Utility efficiency

RESULTS:

  • 100% data capture
  • Delivery of high-resolution color and thermal imagery
  • All data captured in half day (10-minutes flight time) versus two days

AIRCRAFT:

  • ULC US-Built Multirotor UAS

PAYLOAD:

  • 42MP DSLR
  • FLIR Thermal Cameras

ALTITUDE:

  • 200ft / 61m

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 and incurs repetitive travel and labor costs

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.

INSPECTION & RESULTS

Using first-class, high-resolution and thermal imaging cameras mounted on a US-built multirotor UAV, ULC completed the entire substation inspection in approximately 2 hours (including set-up) and provided:

  • Detailed visual data to help meet inspection requirements and identify issues with substation condition, vegetation growth, and security breaches.
  • High resolution visual and thermal imagery of the substation, providing current information not available from Google Earth view or any out-of-date survey data.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.

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

Learn More About Our UAS Inspection Capabilities

From proactive asset management to post-event emergency response, our team of highly-trained UAS pilots, engineers and project managers work with our electric utility customers to deploy unmanned aerial systems while focusing on delivering high-quality, actionable data.

Learn more about our UAS capabilities for electric utilities or contact us to start a discussion.

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