Nevada Utility Working Toward BVLOS Drone Flights

This week, Las Vegas-based NV Energy Inc., which provides energy services to 1.3 million customers throughout Nevada, is conducting drone test flights in support of operations taking place beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS).

In early 2016, NV Energy teamed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-designated unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site in Nevada – managed by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous System (NIAS) and commercial industry specialists – in the discovery process of integrating UAS into utility operations in order to help improve customer service and reliability.

Since then, NV Energy says it has conducted three test flights over company equipment to help identify equipment anomalies and make repairs.

The test flights this week will incorporate the use of a new ground control system. The objective is to use a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55 paired with a Riegl Vux 1 LiDAR to inspect approximately 41 miles of lines.

NV Energy says it has been collaborating with NIAS, Las Vegas-based AviSight and other stakeholders to work with the FAA on requirements for developing a BVLOS approval path forward to inspect utility infrastructure. The ability to use this technology will allow for safe, cost-effective and innovative data collection, the company explains.

“We are excited to be teamed with the State of Nevada for testing, developing and advancing UAS technology with the Nevada UAS Test Site and Nevada-based commercial UAS companies,” comments Mary Simmons, vice president of business development and community strategy for NV Energy.


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