As part of the company’s annual storm drill, Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) recently implemented a drone to test the response of more than 3,000 employees to Hurricane Alexa, a virtual Category 2 storm that was simulated to make landfall in Naples and exit the state along Florida’s Treasure Coast.
As part of the weeklong exercise, the energy company showcased an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and an amphibious robot. According to FPL, both machines can provide the company greater visibility of damage and speed restoration in the aftermath of a hurricane.
FPL says it is demonstrating how emerging technologies are changing the way field employees assess damage in the aftermath of a storm – e.g., the UAS can survey overhead power-line damage, and the amphibious robots can provide access to unsafe, flooded areas.
“With more than 10 years having passed since the last hurricane impacted Florida, we are constantly pushing ourselves to improve upon our storm-response and restoration capabilities,” says Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
Representatives from the Florida National Guard, the U.S. Department of Energy, partner energy companies and the Florida Division of Emergency Management observed and, in some cases, participated in the storm simulation at FPL’s command center in Riviera Beach, Fla.
FPL serves more than 4.8 million customer accounts – or more than 10 million people – across nearly half of the state of Florida.