Codebreaker

Nice drone doesn’t shoot or spy on anyone at all

Marc Sanchez Jul 30, 2012

My new favorite drone. It’s the one that’s going to help turn the power back on in my neighborhood after the tornado, earthquake, or swarm of locusts takes down the grid. That’s right, drones are now being tested to help speed up the time in which it takes to get grids turned back on.

The New York Times writes about how the Electric Power Research Institute is testing a system that uses an iPad:

The electric company preloads the iPad with data about the equipment in the field. With GPS, the device knows its location. A field worker can then point the [drone] at a utility pole and quickly see an “augmented reality” view, showing precisely what kind of pole, crossbar, transformer and wire are present, and how the system is wired.
The technician selects the image of the parts that need replacing, and “click, click, it goes back to the loading dock,” where workers begin loading trucks with what is needed for that spot, said Clark Gellings, a senior researcher at the institute.

The program is being tested now in New Mexico, although Alabama’s Southern Company is slated to be the first to put them into action if need be. Before anything can move forward, however, the Federal Aviation Administration needs to give its blessing.


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