Tropical Storm Isaias hit the East Coast this week and caused millions of power outages as a result of 50 mph and higher wind gusts, fallen trees, branches and power lines. In New Jersey, thousands of workers, tree trimmers and other mutual aid from as far as Canada have been working around the clock to help repair damage, restore power and respond to extensive tree damage across the region. Due to the destruction, many affected areas are inaccessible by utility vans or are too dangerous to investigate on foot.
ULC Robotics’ unmanned aerial systems (UAS) team is working with PSE&G in New Jersey to deploy a drone to inspect transmission and distribution circuits that have been affected by the storm. The data collected will help PSE&G get a more comprehensive assessment of the damage and will assist the utility in rapidly restoring power to their customers. The aerial inspection will also help prevent any pending outages, for example identifying large trees laying on the power lines that could potentially lead to an outage.