Powering & Connecting the World
Without power or communications the world as we know it would not exist. We not only have to generate this power but we also need to distribute it to the remotest of areas. Telecoms also fall under a similar infrastructure when we come to providing this capability to the world. The infrastructure required for energy & telecoms on a global scale is almost unmeasurable. To be able to accurately put this infrastructure in place and to maintain it is an endless, time consuming and expensive task.
The production of energy can be carried out in a number of ways. Typical energy sources are from fossil fuels such as coal or oil, nuclear power or renewable power such as solar, wind or tidal. We have covered how UAV's can assist with fossil fuels in the Oil & Gas section. For large scale infrastructure required for the nuclear & hydro plants UAV benefits can be explained in construction or inspections applications. Large solar stations also require inspecting which can be carried out quickly and easily by the use of drones.
Wind energy is slightly different to the rest of the power sources in that it requires large onshore or offshore wind turbines which are often found in large quantities in what are know as wind farms. These wind farms are difficult and time consuming to put in place and to maintain. The most common method of inspecting wind turbines is to use ground cameras or rope access companies set up , abseil and climb each turbine. As you can imagine this is neither very accurate and is extremely time consuming.
Energy & Phone Line Distribution
Large networks of power lines and phone lines are ran throughout every country in the world, this helps us to connect to our friends, families and colleagues. Without this network of lines the world as we know it would not exist. To inspect and maintain these power and phone lines takes a untold amount of man power and time. The most common method of doing this is either on foot or by the use of a helicopter. Both of these methods are inefficient and expensive.
How UAV's Can Help
UAV's are being used in the Energy and Telecoms sector in a number of different ways. The benefits that they bring to these sectors are huge cost savings, vast reduction in man power and improve safety of working conditions. They can be used in the early stages of surveying areas where the infrastructure is to be placed to ensure that it is suitable. They can be used to survey the power/phone lines once they are in place to ensure that they are not being damaged by trees or other items.
The most beneficial use of drones however is the inspection of power lines, phone lines and wind turbines. The cost of a drone is a fraction of the cost of renting a helicopter and the risks associated with UAV's are far less than that of flying helicopters or using rope access personnel.
By carrying specialised sensors such as RGB, thermal or LiDar UAV's can be used to carry out a number of tasks. By using these sensors the gathered data can establish the condition of the lines and poles, measure the length of the lines and amount of sag as well as establish if power lines are fully insulated or are damaged. We no longer need to send a person to every inch of power line pole. Using software we can stitch the data together to tell us the condition of each section of line or pole, we can identify areas that require maintenance and track the condition to help establish a maintenance plan.
The inspection benefits are similar with Wind Turbines. We no longer need to send a man up every turbine as we can inspect each tower and blade far more easily, safely and quicker with a drone. When we identify areas of concern we can send an engineer to further investigate or to fix the issue. Offshore wind farms are very difficult and dangerous to inspect. By using UAV's we can minimise the risk by not having a person climb up the structure. UAV's allow large wind turbine farms either offshore or onshore can be inspected in a fraction of the time compared to using traditional methods.
Thunder Tiger Aviation UAV's
Thunder Tiger UAV's provide excellent flight times and payload capability which will allow for nearly any camera type to be carried and will supply sufficient flight time to cover even the largest of sites. Please go to our Technology tab to see the different camera types available for our UAV's
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