Randolph Electric Membership Corp. (Randolph EMC), an electric cooperative based in Asheboro, N.C., recently donated $10,000 to Montgomery Community College (MCC) in support of the school’s NC Public Safety Drone Academy.
According to Randolph EMC, the funds will be used to purchase software and develop an educational course for REMC’s own utility-focused drone program.
MCC’s NC Public Safety Drone Academy currently prepares emergency service personnel to become unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilots. The academy’s focus on the laws and regulations of UAVs and extensive hands-on flight school will be the cornerstone of the utility drone program that Randolph EMC plans to establish with the college for future training.
“With the college’s close proximity to our headquarters in Asheboro, having the opportunity to partner with MCC in this capacity is extremely beneficial,” says Dennis Mabe, vice president of engineering and operations for Randolph EMC. “The imaging software being purchased with our donated funds will benefit public safety officials while Randolph EMC evaluates the ways the co-op can utilize its capabilities, as well.”
Randolph EMC line technicians will also participate in the school’s drone training. Randolph EMC has nearly 600 miles of power lines in Montgomery County, with many of them located in the Uwharrie National Forest.
“Our hope is to establish a protocol that can be used to safely navigate around and inspect power lines – especially in difficult terrain – while identifying conditions that have the potential to cause an outage or damage equipment,” Mabe adds.