KEYS to Integrating
UAS Technology into
BY DAVID PRICE, NATHAN IVES AND CAITLIN FRANK
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is garnering growing interest in the
utility space for its use in asset inspections. Adding imaging or sensing devices
to these small aircraft enables improved
data collection safety, quality, speed, and
cost. With UAV prices dropping, using
UAV as part of an integrated enterprise
asset management program is becoming
easier than ever. Or, is it?
Developing a UAV-capable enterprise
is more than simply purchasing the UAV
hardware and flying it around assets.
Building a culture of adoption for UAV
Many utilities have started to explore the
benefits of using UAV to support asset
inspections but struggle to move beyond
pilot projects to develop standardized
processes that are a part of their overall
enterprise asset management program.
A utility, recently having purchased a
rotary UAV, wants to look at several hundred miles of transmission lines damaged
after a large storm devastated the area.
Although the technology is at hand, no
one on the team knows quite where to
start: What are the critical assets that need
to be assessed, and how do we deploy our
teams to start inspecting the damage?
Then, after eventually collecting the
asset data using the UAV, an analyst is
now sat at her desk, dreading the thousands of images and data points that she
has to work through. What asset is that
cracked transformer associated to, and
where is it? What maintenance and repair
follow-up actions are needed now that I
have photos and data points on our