First comprehensive remote asset inspection program combines UAV-collected data, software and utility expertise to safely and efficiently perform virtual inspections
GeoDigital, FLōT Systems, and Environmental Consultants Inc. (ECI) have formed a partnership to bring utilities remote asset inspection capabilities via Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) – also known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). The program combines high-resolution imagery collected by FLōT Systems’ beyond line-of-sight capable UAV, analytics and location-based work management software from GeoDigital, and virtual inspection of those images with utility vegetation and asset management expertise from ECI.
For the first time, utilities will be able to assess critical infrastructure on both electric distribution and transmission facilities, as well as on pipelines by using UAV’s, commonly known as drones, to pinpoint possible risks to their infrastructure. In doing so, utilities can improve service reliability, increase employee and public safety and best ensure regulatory compliance.
“We believe UAS will become an invaluable tool in helping utilities manage their infrastructure and the environment around it,” said FLōT Systems’ CEO Chris Vallier. “As specialists in the utility industry, we have been developing the ability to utilize long-range unmanned aircrafts to more safely and efficiently collect higher value facility information than with traditional methods.” With respect to the regulatory environment, Mr. Vallier goes on to say, “We understand how to operate within the current regulatory framework while helping our clients prepare for full-scale commercial activity in the near future.”
“By combining UAV collection and utility inspection expertise with GeoDigital’s virtual asset inspection software, utilities can now enhance their inspection programs by deriving actionable insights from big geospatial data,” said Chris Warrington, President and CEO at GeoDigital. “Virtual inspections use geospatial data, which can now be collected more frequently and safely, so utilities can prioritize remote asset maintenance and repairs using up-to-date data. This geospatially-precise work planning increases reliability and enables safer, more efficient field crew deployments. By going to digital inspections and having a history of all work activity, utilities can achieve significant process improvements and cost savings.”
“Because vegetation and equipment-caused failures are among the top causes of electric distribution system interruptions, our team has focused on providing virtual facility and vegetation inspections as our first end-to-end solution,” said Jim Downie, Executive Vice President of ECI. “For example, imagery collected to virtually identify high-risk trees or equipment maintenance needs can be tracked back to the field using GeoDigital location-based work management software. This is just the first example of the common vision of ECI, GeoDigital and FLōT to enable informed digital decisions that drive real returns for electric and gas utilities and their customers. We anticipate the business case for UAV and other remote inspection methods will further optimize utility engineering and vegetation management by taking advantage of LiDAR and other sensing technologies in the not-too-distant future.”
To find out more visit the company websites below.
GeoDigital, a big spatial data and analytics company, helps industries efficiently manage critical assets and the world around them. GeoDigital’s innovative solutions combine 3D maps – built on remote sensing and imaging technologies such as LiDAR – with patented analytics and location-based work management software. By providing precision insights, GeoDigital enables customers to predict threats and prioritize actions to solve complex geospatial challenges. With data-driven confidence, GeoDigital helps to guide people, autonomous cars, machines and infrastructure more safely, reliably and productively.
Founded in 2005, GeoDigital has operations in the United States, Canada, and Australia and its investors include NGP Energy Technology Partners, North Sky Capital, EnerTech Capital and Emerald Technology Ventures. Visitwww.geodigital.com/UAV-inspections to find out more about this solution.
About Flōt Systems
Based in Lafayette, Colo., FLōT (pronounced FLOAT) Systems is a UAV-based technology company delivering next-generation aerial inspection systems to electric utilities and other critical industries. FLōT Systems leverages long range UAS that carry precision sensors that are useful in solving many electric utility challenges. FLōT Systems provides turnkey UAS services, FAA expertise for beyond line of sight operations, sensor and integration experience, and UAS software development for the utility industry.
About Environmental Consultants Inc. (ECI)
ECI provides quality solutions for all aspects of vegetation management, including program assessment, development, crew productivity measurement, environmental assessment, contract vegetation management field specialists, training, expert testimony, and research. We are committed to providing the highest quality state-of-the-art consulting services.
ECI is consistently at the forefront in the development of reliability-focused, risk-based, cost effective utility vegetation management programs. Clients implementing our program initiatives and recommendations have realized dramatic improvements in reliability, significant cost savings, reduced risk, enhance regulatory compliance and overall improvements in operational effectiveness.
Since its founding in 1972, ECI has been recognized as the proven industry leader in the strategic and tactical development of progressive UVM solutions and programs. ECI has successfully provided a wide variety of related consulting services for hundreds of utilities throughout the United States and Canada.