Drones have become more than just a high-tech gadget for the geeks as various industries have been finding applications for these unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Among these industries are power companies in the electrical transmission industry that use these UAS for drone stringing transmission lines.

Drones in the Electrical Transmission Industry

Perhaps the most popular case of drone stringing transmission lines is when the company SkyDrones helped a power company in Brazil cross a cable line across a busy sector of a major Brazilian city from one transmission tower to another.

With the use of a drone, the power company was able to avoid cordoning off the street, making it easier for commuters to continue their journey. Moreover, the whole job only took a few minutes instead of an hour or so of manual labor, and they were also able to save more money.

Another popular case of drone stringing transmission lines is in the island of Puerto Rico. The country was hit by a massive hurricane, causing power outages. The damages from the storm also made it almost impossible for repair crews of local power companies to connect power lines and have electricity re-distributed to homes. Nevertheless, they found a way to overcome the shambles of power grid infrastructure and the mountainous forests and challenging areas using drones.

A couple of companies, Sharper Shape and SkySkopes, had also tackled the same challenge back in 2017.

How This Benefits the Power Industry

In the past, wire stringing was done by helicopters or, more commonly, people on the field climbing transmission towers. This could be dangerous for both helicopter pilots and the manual laborers on the ground.

Through these unmanned air systems, there is a decrease in risks of injury of the people involved in the project. This could be the most crucial benefit of using drones for power line stringing.

Below are more benefits of using drones in the power industry:

Faster completion. When it comes to power distribution, time is of the essence. Places like hospitals require constant power for their patients, so the longer they go without power, the more chances of fatalities and/or critical conditions occur. But delays are inevitable when wire stringing is done manually, especially in areas devastated by natural catastrophes and limited resources.

Since drones are practically much cheaper than helicopters, they can opt for these UAS to complete the tasks much faster. With drones, power companies can reduce response time across distribution and transmission systems.

Cutting costs. Using drones for wire stringing can actually cut costs. Instead of using a helicopter, which could be too costly or hiring more people for the work, power companies can use drones to complete projects quicker.

Moreover, drones can also help cut costs for power line inspections.

Power line inspections. Instead of manually checking each power line, companies can send drones to check on multiple towers to check for problems. This requires less workforce and can also help complete the task quicker.

Tons of drones are equipped with a variety of sensors, some even with Artificial Intelligence that are wired to report any problems they sense before people controlling the drone can see them. Companies can undertake inspections more regularly to prevent any issues that may occur.

Drones can capture data and bring them back to people on the ground, which could help in various projects.

Access to remote and hard-to-reach areas. Another significant benefit of using a drone in the power industry is it can access hard-to-reach areas without endangering people and costing much. It can reach even high voltage power lines, useful for inspection and surveillance, especially after storms.

Drone Training

For people to operate a drone or an unmanned air system, they need to undergo drone training first to guarantee the project’s success, especially when it comes to stringing transmission lines.

Flying drones is already a little complicated, but operating them to string power lines is more intricate and will require considerable skills. The operator should know the ins and out of drone flying and of wire stringing. Fortunately, there are commercial drone courses that people can take and then further their skills in the field.

Drones in the power industry change things for the better, so it won’t be a surprise if we see more of these UAS in action in the future.