UAS inspection for Indian power grid
US company Sharper Shape and Indian power company Sterlite Power are set to introduce UAS inspection services for utility asset monitoring in India under a strategic partnership announced on 8 August.
The companies signed a partnership agreement in February to deliver UAS technologies for the power transmission industry, and the companies are currently awaiting approvals from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation for large-scale, long-distance UAS flights to inspect utility assets.
Maintenance processes are typically one of the biggest challenges for energy delivery companies, and using UAS instead of manned platforms to inspect power infrastructure has the potential to provide a safer, more efficient and faster method of inspection.
The partnership also aims to provide services for other utilities in India. India has a power transmission network of more than a million circuit kilometers which is undergoing double-digit growth annually. The companies expect the use of UAS to increase the uptime of the grid, reduce transmission tariffs, avoid grid blackouts, and also minimise environmental impact by reducing deforestation along the line corridors.
Sharper Shape is already working on the adoption of long-distance commercial UAS flights for utilities in Europe. In the US the company is part of the EEI Sharper Utility partnership, an industry collaboration aimed at demonstrating and developing commercial long-distance UAS flights for electric companies.