Western Power has commenced a trial of drones to undertake visual inspections of faults around its electricity grid.
As part of the three-month trial, four Western Power fault crew members completed Civil Aviation Safety Authority training to become Remote Pilots and undertook specific training on inspecting power lines.
Western Power hopes that drones can help crews inspect assets in difficult-to-reach locations and address vehicle access issues in agricultural and environmentally sensitive locations.
Drone pilots will be able to switch between two different cameras, a high powered zoom lens and thermal heat sensing, to see potential faults that would not be visible to the naked eye.
Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, announced the trial.
“It is exciting to see the potential benefits that drone technology can deliver to the community, as severe weather in the region can affect power supply and long feeder lines require intensive man hours to inspect.
“It is expected the trial will help reduce response times, costs, and risk relating to visual inspections of faults in regional areas.”