NV Energy advancing the use of drones for inspections | nnbw.com

NV Energy advancing the use of drones for inspections

Special to the NNBW
Engineers use a drone to inspect wind farms in this stock art photo. NV Energy uses drones to inspect power lines and is working on getting FAA approval for beyond visual line of sight flights.
FatCamera | Getty Images

NV Energy is looking to advance the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, into utility operations.

NV Energy has been working withNIAS, AviSight, and other stakeholders on the discovery 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 safely integrate unmanned aviation into the manned aviation National Airspace System (NAS), test flights and operational UAS demonstration are a necessary step for full UAS integration in the NAS. Each safe flight builds the safety case for advancing UAS technology and will potentially allow for streamlining the process for approvals.

NV Energy’s next test flight toward this initiative is taking place this week in Austin, Nevada. This flight 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.

“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.