AeroLabs and BGE autonomously inspect distribution assets in Maryland using UAS



In early February, AeroLabs and Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) successfully completed a test on the use of a DJI Matrice 210 UAS to perform autonomous inspections of distribution assets in a rural area of northern Maryland.

AeroLabs says that the Matrice “held its own and flew quite well on its programmed flight path” despite flying in adverse conditions, which included strong 15+ mph winds.

The test consisted of a 10-12 pole segment of a circuit that presented various hardware configurations, and tree encroachments that allowed AeroLabs to showcase the UAS' ability to safely maneuver around the assets, and avoid environmental hazards.

AeroLabs says that when it used the Zenmuse Z30 camera, it was able to fly at a farther standoff distance, making it safer for an inexperienced pilot to oversee the UAS, while still being able to capture all of the important data.

Thanks to being dually equipped with the FLIR sensor, AeroLabs adds that it was able to complete its inspection in just a single pass, when it’s traditionally a separate process.

“We successfully identified some defects on tops of cross arms that were not visible from the ground, which proves the drones deliver more thorough inspections,” AeroLabs says.

“In order for drones to be integrated at a larger scale, autonomous flight is simply a must. When compared to a manual flight, the autonomous inspection is consistently faster and more efficient.”