NV Energy Adopts UAS Technology for Utility Operations

Published: 31 Dec 2017 | Author: Caroline Rees

Drone power line inspection

NV Energy has announced that it has partnered with the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site, managed by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS), and commercial industry specialists in the discovery process of integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into utility operations in order to help improve customer service and reliability. NV Energy has conducted three test flights over company equipment to help identify equipment anomalies and make repairs.

To advance the use of rapidly changing UAS technology, NV Energy has been working with NIAS, AviSight, and other stakeholders on the process for part 107 waiver development. The main objective of this collaboration has been to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discover the requirements for developing a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) approval path forward to inspect utility infrastructure. The ability to use this technology will allow for safe, cost-effective and innovative data collection.

To fully and safely integrate unmanned aviation into the manned aviation National Airspace System (NAS), test flights and operational UAS demonstration are a necessary step. Each safe flight builds the safety case for advancing UAS technology and will potentially allow for streamlining the process for approvals.

“We are excited to be teamed with the State of Nevada for testing, developing and advancing UAS technology with the Nevada UAS Test Site and Nevada-based commercial UAS companies,” said Mary Simmons, Vice President of Business Development and Community Strategy for NV Energy.

NV Energy’s next test flight toward this initiative will take place in central Nevada, and will incorporate the use of a new ground control system (GCS) that will ultimately be certified to fly drones, collect data, provide near real-time distribution in any environment and ensure that NV Energy has the safest flight operations technology can provide for BVLOS operations. The objective of this inspection is to use a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55 paired with a Riegl Vux 1 LiDAR to inspect approximately 41 miles of line.