Drones offer a cheaper and more efficient alternative to the manual techniques used for inspection purposes in the energy industry.

FREMONT, CA: Drones are increasingly contributing to industries across verticals. Energy industry sectors such as solar and wind are also leveraging drones for operational efficiency. Although drones can have a number of applications in the energy sector, they can be particularly used as inspection devices in the energy industry. The traditional inspections were not only manual but also involved significant amounts of time and money. However, drones can fly over the utility sites and report everything from damage in wind turbines to solar panels. Such image-based data enables the personnel to identify the issues and resolve them accordingly immediately. 

When it comes to safety-critical operations such as inspection of solar farms, gas facilities, and remote oil fields, the process required professionals and helicopters in the past. There were numerous safety measures, such as the creation of safety documents, which were required before the inspection of such facilities. However, drones have virtually eliminated the safety risks. Moreover, drones can even inspect areas that are difficult to reach by human counterparts.

With reduced inspection overheads, operators can concentrate more on the data at hand and gain a better understanding of the situation. For instance, a drone in the air over wind turbines can gather images and information can be leveraged for mapping, monitoring, and planning as well as structural analysis. Moreover, a thermal camera mounted on a drone device can detect broken insulators or conductor hot spots. A drone can also be used to create 3D images of the surfaces so that operators can get a better understanding of damage such as erosion or cracks even without stopping the turbines from spinning. Like their application in wind turbines, drones can be equally useful for the solar energy sector as well. 

Drones are increasingly being used across the energy sector for inspection purposes. Not only drones limit the human requirement for inspection tasks, but it also generates refined data for research and analysis purposes.

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