Southern Company partners with Skyward to expand UAS program

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In an effort to expand its UAS program, Southern Company has partnered with Skyward, a Verizon company that is advancing UAS fleet management technologies and research and development.

Along with its affiliates, Southern Company was one of the first energy companies to use UAS as part of its operations for a variety of tasks, including remote inspection, wire transport and damage recovery assessments.

“Southern Company is leading the energy industry in deploying state-of-the-art drone operations technology and innovating their processes,” says Mariah Scott, Skyward President.

“Skyward is proud to help Southern Company fly in more ways and in more places and looks forward to continuing R&D work.”

Since 2015, Southern Company has been utilizing UAS technology. The company uses a self-dispatched model, and maintains a fleet of more than 50 aircraft and 60 remote pilots across its business units. Use cases for the technology include generation, distribution, transmission and storm damage assessment and response.

Through its partnership with Skyward, Southern Company says that it will further develop its “internal command and control application” as it prepares for the future beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) environment.

“We chose Skyward because we needed a partner with roots in aviation and computer science, as well as the depth of regulatory knowledge, to improve efficiency in managing our extensive nation-wide operations,” explains Dean Barefield, Southern Company UAS Program Manager.

“Using Skyward, we are excited to unlock use cases for flying beyond visual line of sight and capturing the full potential of drone technology.”

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