Southern Company to explore drone tehnology

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a Southern Company Services plan to explore how unmanned aerial systems could be beneficial in maintenance and repair services, the company announced Thursday.

The Southern Company Services inquiry could lower costs associated with maintenance and operations and increase safety for inspections.
Initial research will take place at the Klondike Training Facility in Lithonia, Georgia. If this technology brings positive results, it will be implemented across the entire system.

"Families across the Southeast depend on us to quickly and safely get the lights back on after major storms," Southern Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Greene said. "Our innovative approach to exploring the use of unmanned aerial systems in damage assessment could speed the process of restoring power to affected communities – further delivering on our commitment to the customers our utilities serve."

Currently, approximately 27,000 miles of transition lines belong to the Southern Company network and that spans 120,000 square miles. An unmanned aircraft would likely be able to provide detailed assessments at speeds not possible by people alone. The company serves approximately 4.5 million clients in the southeast.

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