New Mexico State University UAS Team leads operational trials for electrical infrastructure inspection

The Electric Power Research Institute and NMSU have partnered to demonstrate the usefulness and effectiveness of the use of unmanned aircraft systems in assessing power grid damage following a storm or natural disaster.
These specific flights showed that small unmanned aircraft systems, weighing less than 55 pounds, are faster, safer and cost-effective way to collect aerial imagery for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and power companies across the U.S. to more quickly assess the damage from natural disasters or storms.

The Aeryon Scout small unmanned aerial system and the Adaptive Flight Hornet Maxi were flown during the demonstration and each successfully completed the proof of concept flights. The Aeryon Scout accurately captured real-time, detailed high-resolution still images, video and data of various electrical system components, while the Maxi showed its power grid capture capabilities during its flight.

The demonstration was organized and flown by the team from New Mexico State University’s Physical Science Laboratory because of its expertise in testing unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System.

This proof of concept flight was phase one in a crawl-walk-run process; phase two will address refining the concept of operations in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration and working with national and state organizations such as FEMA, to make unmanned aircraft systems part of the normal storm recovery process.

In 2013, small unmanned aircraft system manufacturers will have the opportunity to demonstrate the functionality and abilities of their small unmanned aircraft systems and sensors for inclusion into a database that will allow customers to select the appropriate small unmanned aircraft system to meet their business needs and requirements.

NMSU’s UAS Flight Test Center will support the Electric Power Research Institute in the development of evaluation criteria and developing the unmanned aircraft system database for both utility company and Electric Power Research Institute use.


At the UAS Event, 3 seminar session will be dedicated to UAS and services. Click here for more information.

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