Cyberhawk, a global leader in drone-based inspections and creator of iHawk, a cloud-based asset visualization software platform, has launched more than 22,000 drone flights to inspect nearly 25,000 electric utility structures in the Western U.S. through the first six months of 2021 as part of utilities critical wildfire prevention and reliability campaigns. Through a proactive approach to inspection, the company’s services have been successfully deployed globally. With this initiative, Cyberhawk has now further demonstrated its effectiveness as they have expanded into the U.S market to help utilities maintain safe and resilient power grid networks.
The U.S. power grid is one of the oldest in the world, with 70 percent of transmission lines more than 25 years old. Inspecting and maintaining these aging power grids are incredibly important, especially when it comes to mitigating the risk of wildfires. In early 2020, Cyberhawk initiated a program that will eventually carry out drone inspections of over 50,000 transmission structures, as well as collect and manage terabytes of inspection data for a large Western utility. Through defect identification, maintenance planning, and the tracking of remedial actions, Cyberhawk empowers all of its utility partners to make better informed decisions regarding planning maintenance and assessing whether shutoffs are necessary. This significantly reduces risk, downtime, environmental impact and costs due to the inspection speed and by removing the need for linemen to work at height, near live lines, or in generally hazardous areas and removing the need to use helicopters.
To ensure the highest data quality and most efficient operations that minimize the need for re-inspections, Cyberhawk deploys highly-skilled, certified drone pilots who have completed a rigorous training regime specific to Cyberhawk’s customers’ needs in addition to their FAA licensing requirements. Individually, these pilots have thousands of industrial-focused flying hours under their belts and have acquired at least four years’ experience safely flying drones in complex and challenging environments across the globe.
“All utilities are responsible for maintaining safe and reliable power delivery for homes and businesses. As part of a comprehensive wildfire prevention and grid reliability program, our trusted drone-based inspection services keep the lights on and communities safe while reducing risk to utilities,” said Chris Fleming, Cyberhawk CEO.
Anna Dille, a Cyberhawk Planning Supervisor who had previously served as a pilot for the company, added, “This work is especially rewarding when making property access arrangements as we plan our flight schedules. The utility customers have been both receptive and relieved to see the efforts undertaken to ensure that the structures near them will be inspected for safety in great detail.”