Innovation From Concept to Commercialization
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

Aircraft : ULC Custom Developed Multirotor

Payload : 42MP DSLR, FLIR Thermal Camera

Altitude : 200ft. / 61m

Airspace : Class G


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 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visual and thermal imagery of the substation, providing current information not available from Google Earth view or any out-of-date survey data.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.


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