Avion Unmanned is bringing drone power to local public utility companies. A subsidiary of defense contractor Avion Solutions, Avion Unmanned provides operational support and training to industries adopting drone technology for the first time – and Huntsville Utilities are their latest client.
While drones are widely used in Asia for utility applications such as power line stringing, and throughout Asia and Europe to monitor infrastructure for vegetation encroachment or other potential problems, regulations have made it difficult for widespread adoption of drone technology in the utilities sector here in the US. Avion Unmanned is working to overcome the hurdles for utility companies, and set the standard for drone operations in the sector.
“Avion Unmanned is setting the standard for developing a UAS or drone utility program that includes topics on conducting operations, UAS operator qualifications, visual observer qualifications, and training requirements,” says the company. “Along with this, Avion Unmanned wants to identify the potential paths for a utility to take in order to employ drones in the field, and maintain a high level of safety that will reduce costs to utility customers and decrease risk across the board.”
Avion worked with the Department of Energy (DOE)and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop the DOE technical publication titled “An Early Survey of Best Practices for the Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems by the Electric Utility Industry.” Avion and Huntsville Utilities have partnered on a proposal to the American Public Power Association (APPA) for a Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments (DEED) grant to research the feasibility of unmanned aircraft systems’ use in the Public Utility Industry.
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