An eastern Pennsylvania power company is turning to drones to keep its infrastructure in check.
PPL Electric Utilities plans to show off its unmanned aerial system – currently consisting of three drones plus some robots flown by a third-party company – Monday morning.
The company – which serves clients in the Lehigh Valley, Poconos, Lancaster, Harrisburg and other parts of the Keystone State – claims it’s one of the first power companies in the country to turn to drones to inspect its power lines. The company also claims the three-foot wide robots can be used to inspect post-storm damage.
PPL said that the FAA approved the company’s use of drones back in April and the company began quietly using the technology in August, said PPL.
“Drones are a technology we believe can assist us in our efforts to strengthen reliability for customers,” said PPL spokesman Joe Nixon. “It’s another tool in our toolbox and will supplement current methods, which also include manned helicopter patrols and patrols and observations from the ground.”
The company said they don’t anticipate the drones leading to the elimination of any jobs or other services in the immediate future.