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Highlights from our 3rd Annual UAS and T&D Survey

Dawn Hutton

L3Harris Geospatial recently conducted its third annual Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Transmission and Distribution (T&D) survey, drawing worldwide responses from over 100 executives and professionals from utilities and firms supporting utilities. Our objective was to gain insights into important topics such as: how utilities collect and use imagery; who performs T&D inspections; and how imagery is being used and shared across organizations.

UAS has long been heralded as a safety-first option for utilities to improve operations. Now that it is proven and widely accepted, virtual inspections and automated analytics are the next logical step. Through the survey, we captured trends and factors influencing the use of drones, helicopters, and even terrestrial cameras within the utility ecosystem and value chain.

Results from the survey were fascinating to say the least. We found that:

  • There has been a considerable uptick in the number of utilities collecting and using imagery for applications such as inspections, compliance assessment, vegetation management, site planning, and outage management

  • This imagery is often captured by different departments within a utility and stored in disparate systems – resulting in many inefficiencies and increased costs

    • It is not enough to collect images - the imagery should be stored in a centralized data management system so it is easily accessible to stakeholders throughout an organization

  • Since utilities don’t have an endless budget to address every problem, it is essential to prioritize efforts to mitigate the greatest risks to safety and reliability

  • Many utilities don’t just want pictures, they want technology to help identify the state of their network and assist in mitigating risks

See the survey results for yourself and read our suggestions for an intelligent imagery system that integrates imagery and analytics and provides automated insights that can integrate into existing operations and workflows.
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