At Delmarva Power, we constantly seek innovative technology solutions to enhance the safety, reliability, and quality of our energy system. The rapid growth of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, presents a host of new opportunities to modernize the way we inspect our energy grid and maintain reliable service for our customers.
Here’s how we benefit from deploying drones:
- A drone has a camera that can provide video and still photos, flying above power lines and substations to provide a detailed look at the condition of the system.
- Drones can help minimize risk associated with employees climbing poles and save money associated with traditional power line inspections.
- Additionally, drone technology allows us to be more proactive in identifying problems, such as damaged lines or equipment.
“The safety and potential cost saving benefits associated with a drone’s photo and video features can be meaningful to a business like ours,” says Daniela Manna, drone lead. “We are excited to find more opportunities to use drones across our service area to help increase the efficiency of our day-to-day operations and enhance service for our customers.”
As with everything we do, our drone pilots undergo rigorous training, gaining in-depth safety awareness, competency, and confidence before taking their devices to the sky. This includes successfully passing the Federal Aviation Administration’s drone exam and completing a unique training to learn how to safely operate drones near energy equipment.
Our teams flew the first test mission in North East, Md., in Spring 2017 and have now flown seven missions focused on reliability in our service area. We will continue using these devices on a trial basis to inspect and assess the condition of our system – backing this up with our traditional physical human inspection process
We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to enhance energy services for our customers and the communities we serve. By exploring opportunities to incorporate advanced technologies, such as drones, into our daily operations, we are continuing to fulfill this commitment and deliver better, more efficient service for our customers.