Florida Power & Light (FPL) will deploy Percepto autonomous drones on a large scale to monitor high-voltage substations and power distribution grids throughout the state of Florida. To this end, the energy company has entered into a partnership with Percepto. Initially, thirteen drone box systems will be installed. That number will be expanded by hundreds of drone boxes in the next five years.
FPL is one of the largest power suppliers in America. The company supplies power to more than 11 million Americans. To check the infrastructure on a regular basis, FPL automatically deploys flying drones. These are drones from the Israeli supplier, Percepto. These are available 24/7 in docking stations and are centrally controlled by means of Percepto’s Autonomous Inspection and Monitoring (AIM) system. The drones can perform both routine inspections and ad hoc checks.
Florida is regularly hit by hurricanes. That is why it was important that the drone boxes can withstand extreme wind speeds. Percepto’s system was the first to pass the so-called level 5 hurricane test. This means that the Percepto autonomous drones can be deployed immediately after every hurricane or tornado to map any damage to the electricity grid, without the need for personnel to come on site.
Largest drone box network worldwide
As a first step after the test phase, FPL will install thirteen Percepto drone box systems in the West Palm Beach region this year. Over the next five years, “hundreds” of systems will be added. This makes it the largest autonomous drone box network worldwide.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with FPL and ensuring that Florida’s electrical infrastructure is constantly monitored, providing residents with a more reliable infrastructure and getting back online faster after outages,” said Percepto Chief Commercial Officer Ariel Avitan. “FPL’s visionary approach to adopting the latest Drone Technology will play a vital role in the power grid of the future, and Percepto is pleased that its drones will contribute to the vital reliability of infrastructure for FPL’s customers.”
BVLOS flying with Percepto autonomous drones
To enable the deployment of the automatic flying drones, Percepto has obtained a BVLOS license from the FAA. Percepto is also a member of the Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which recently made regulatory recommendations to enable automated BVLOS flights in US airspace.
Percepto’s drone box system has also recently been allowed to be used in the Netherlands. Software company Falcker received the necessary permit for this from the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate at the beginning of April 2022. The system was recently tested for the first time at an oil terminal on the Maasvlakte.
Let us know what you think about the Percepto autonomous drones inspecting the power grid in Florida in the comments below. We are curious to hear your thoughts.
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