SkySpecs Collaborates with Siemens Wind Power for Use of Automated Drone Technology in Offshore Turbine Inspections

SkySpecs is a fully automated technology solution for all assets with expertise in wind turbine blade inspections.

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Siemens is collaborating with US-based company SkySpecs to deploy automated drone technology for onshore and offshore wind turbine inspections. The goal of the collaboration is to develop a push-button inspection system that is faster, repeatable and more efficient than existing methods. Siemens is involving its Wind Power business and its next47 venture unit, which was established in October 2016, to accelerate the development of new technologies. SkySpecs was founded in 2012 and is the first company to successfully demonstrate fully autonomous wind turbine inspections. Continue reading

Verizon buys Skyward, a drone operations company

by Matt Burns

Forget about Yahoo for a minute. Verizon just announced it has acquired Skyward, a drone operations and management company based out of Portland, Oregon for an undisclosed amount. Verizon says Skyward will help developers and businesses better create and manage drones that also happen to utilize Verizon’s mobile network services and infrastructure.

Skyward had raised $8.15M since its founding in October 2012. Verizon Ventures was an investor in the company’s seed round. The company will operate under Verizon’s IoT portfolio.

“Last quarter we announced our strategy to drive innovation and widespread adoption for in-flight wireless connectivity through our Airborne LTE Operations (ALO) initiative, said Mike Lanman, Verizon SVP Enterprise Products and IoT, in a released statement, “a new service to simplify certification and connectivity of wireless drones. This acquisition is a natural progression of our core focus on operating in innovative, high-growth markets, leveraging our network, scale, fleet management, device management, data analytics and security enablement capabilities and services to simplify the drone industry and help support the adoption of IoT.”

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Power Company Sends Fire-Spewing Drone to Burn Trash Off High-Voltage Wires

Electric company maintenance workers in Xiangyang, China used a fire-shooting drone to burn garbage from electrical wires (Photo by Wang Hu/VCG)

by Matt Novak

What happens when your power lines get all kinds of trash hanging from them and it’s not safe to send up a human? In Xiangyang, China, you send in the drones. Specifically, the drones that shoot fire.

Just in case you were worried that the robot uprising was delayed, fear no more. It appears to be right on time, as these fire-spewing drones are sent to burn off trash that gets stuck on high-voltage wires.

The drones are being used by an electric power maintenance company in China to get rid of plastic bags and other debris that get caught in places that are hard to reach with a human in a cherrypicker.

Now, before you get all worried about drones like these being used to kill humans, just remember that drones are already being used to kill humans practically every day. Targeted US military strikes against suspected terrorists occur on a regular basis, and terrorists themselves have gotten into the drone game.

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Drones help power companies mechanize most dangerous jobs

A DJI S1000 drone. The market to build drones is dominated by DJI, a Chinese drone-maker that has beaten out a steady stream of deep-pocketed challengers from Silicon Valley.

A DJI S1000 drone. The market to build drones is dominated by DJI, a Chinese drone-maker that has beaten out a steady stream of deep-pocketed challengers from Silicon Valley.
Bloomberg file photo by Michael Nagle

Industrial technology has often been a blessing and a curse for workers, eliminating some jobs while making others safer.

That could soon happen at AES Corp., an Arlington, Va.-based power utility that generates $15 billion a year in sales powering homes in 17 countries. The company is moving to replace much of its high-risk maintenance work with a massive fleet of surveillance drones coordinated by Measure, a D.C.-based commercial drone operator.

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Measure Partners With AES To Deploy Drones At Record Scale For The Energy Industry

Drone technology will inspect energy infrastructure across AES’ renewable and thermal generation facilities, as well as distribution companies

Measure, the nation’s leading Drone as a Service® operator, announced today a global partnership with The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES) to scale and leverage its industry-leading drone service to inspect AES’ energy infrastructure in 17 countries. The use of the drone technology is expected to help AES improve safety and avoid more than 30,000 hours of hazardous work per year with safer and more efficient aerial inspection services.

“This is the year drone technology gets fully integrated in operations. At many of the nations’ leading energy companies we are seeing a push to move beyond the R&D phase, and get this technology fully deployed into the field. AES has proven the technology works at scale, with more than 3,000 flights logged in 10 countries. We are excited to be chosen as their strategic partner to ‘make drones work’ at scale across their global portfolio of energy infrastructure, and to improve safety and increase availability of their energy solutions in the United States and abroad,” said Brandon Torres Declet, CEO of Measure. Continue reading