Xcel Energy, a provider of using drone technology to inspect energy infrastructure, will be the first utility in the nation to routinely fly unmanned aircraft beyond the operator´s line of sight when it begins surveying transmission lines near Denver, Colorado, the company said.
Starting this summer, the company will routinely operate drones beyond visual line of the operator´s sight within a designated area approximately 20 miles north of Denver International Airport. Licensed pilots will remotely operate a small, unmanned helicopter weighing less than 55 pounds. Xcel Energy will use advanced command-and-control technology to ensure safe operations while it inspects transmission lines.
To conduct the flights, the company is currently working with several industry leaders including Harris Corporation, Northern Plains UAS Test Site, Phoenix Air UNMANNED, LLC and Altus Intelligence. When the transmission inspections are completed in the Denver area, Xcel Energy will work with the FAA to extend our beyond line-of-sight operations in other states where the company provides electric service.
Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry provider of responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com