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Index #: F3415

Applications for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Electric Utility Construction

Commissioned by

ELECTRI International – The Foundation for Electrical Construction, Inc.

Investigative Team

Professor Lonny Simonian, PE, PMP - Principal Investigator
California Polytechnic State University

Assistant Professor Matthew E. Taylor - Co-Investigator
Washington State University

Every day, more and more businesses must deal with Drones, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems), and RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircrafts).

The cost for these flying robots is plummeting while their capabilities are soaring and multiple business sectors are likely to be disrupted by this new technology.

The landscape of quickly improving hardware and solidifying FAA regulations brings about a critical opportunity to establish a cutting-edge program to leverage UAVs for utility system monitoring, along with requisite qualifications, safety, and training.

This report

  • Provides a bread overview of current capabilities and US regulatory framework.
  • Proposes a set of applications that can be useful for electrical line construction and maintenance, along with example training and operating guides.
  • Offers a starting point for interested businesses to come up to speed quickly on the opportunities and challenges related to UAVs in the current technological/legislative landscape.
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