Southern Company Services Inc. (SCS), a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, has received a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Section 333 exemption to explore the use of the Aeryon SkyRanger small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) for utility applications.
Under the exemption, the company is permitted to investigate the applicability of the Aeryon Labs sUAS for assessing weather-related damage to power lines and for routine inspections.
The Aeryon SkyRanger provides high-resolution imagery and data that can be used to inspect the structures, transformers and power lines and review changes over time. This data can be transformed into 3D models, 2D orthomosaics and maps.
SCS will conduct initial sUAS research operations at subsidiary Georgia Power's Klondike Training Facility in Lithonia, Ga., and, following research operations, may deploy the technology across the Southern Company system.
“Safe inspection and maintenance of electrical power infrastructure is an enormous task, especially in challenging weather conditions,” says Dave Kroetsch, president and CEO of Aeryon Labs. “The Aeryon SkyRanger provides reliable flight performance, can reduce time in the field and can greatly contribute to the efficient collection of data, which is vital to avoid and resolve issues quickly.”