ULC Robotics Inc. says it will be using its newly issued Section 333 exemption to commercially perform drone inspections and surveys for the energy and utility industries.
ULC says drones will aid in its aerial inspections and surveys of difficult-to-access structures, monitor for gas leaks in distribution or transmission pipelines, inspect buildings, and act as an emergency-response assessment tool. The company is located in Hauppauge, N.Y., on Long Island, as well as the U.K.
Because of the Federal Aviation Administration’s new policy to allow drone operations up to 400 feet in altitude through a blanket Certificate of Waiver or Authorization of a Section 333 exemption, the company will be able to operate the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) up to this altitude throughout the U.S.
The company plans to work with gas and electric utility customers and start demonstrations in June. In addition to these inspections, ULC’s UAS team has plans in the works to expand drone operations to other industries, including construction, agriculture and commercial real estate.
“Unmanned aerial systems offer a myriad of uses that utility industries and energy businesses can fully benefit from,” says Aubrey Anderson, head of the UAS program for ULC. “Using unmanned aerial inspections to monitor gas pipelines or electrical lines allows utilities to gather critical data while reducing costs and keeping workers safe by eliminating the need to climb heights or navigate through hazardous terrain.”