CHICAGO (CBS) — The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized ComEd to use drones to streamline the inspection of its power lines.
ComEd will be the first utility company in the Midwest to use unmanned aerial vehicles to inspect power lines and substations.READ MORE: Private Insurance Now Covers At-Home COVID-19 Testing
“This [drone] technology will allow us to be more proactive in identifying problems before they interrupt power to our customers,” said ComEd chief operating officer Terence Donnelly. “This will be especially useful in remote areas that can be difficult to access and will provide an added layer of safety for our workers by making it possible to inspect lines without sending a person into a hazardous area.”READ MORE: Woman Struck and Killed While Entering Vehicle In West Garfield Park
The drones were developed the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is partnering with ComEd on the project.
Initially, the drones will take video and still pictures, but plans call for the use of infrared cameras in the future. The infrared cameras could find hotspots and pinpoint trouble before it occurs.MORE NEWS: Crime Stoppers Offers $1,000 Reward For Information In Hit And Run In Austin
ComEd said it will employ licensed pilots to operate the drones.