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Austin Energy To Release Drone Employees

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Austin Energy has stepped into the future by employing drones to inspect transmission lines along major roads like Research Boulevard and Burnet Road. The drone experiment is part of a project with the IC² Institute Global Commercialization Group at the University of Texas at Austin. According to the Statesman, they are “testing the use of pattern recognition software to detect worn and damaged equipment.”

If experiments like these prove successful, Austin Energy, and other energy companies, might start using drones to assess problems with transmission lines instead of sending out people to check on equipment.

Even though drones do as they’re told, it’s still difficult to manage them when it comes to the electromagnetic fields around power lines. It could distort the drone’s GPS system, so those who fly these impressive pieces of technology must be licensed through the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a recent press release, Austin Energy stated, “With successful testing of drones on a regular basis, utilities have the potential to lower costs, increase safety and capture images from multiple angles and elevations by deploying drones instead of helicopters flown by humans to perform the work as is commonly used today.”