Drones & Dams
RotorDrone|August/ September 2020
Drones & Dams
Taking safety inspections to new heights
PAUL NETTER

They’re quiet, they capture crucial high-definition images and, most of all, they’re safer. Widely used in utility equipment inspections and wildfire mitigation efforts, drones have quickly become an essential tool for Southern California Edison (SCE) in its dam safety inspections, too. With 83 dams in SCE’s hydroelectric system stretching from Catalina Island to Big Creek near Fresno, it’s easy to see why. In addition to safer and more cost-effective inspections, drones help SCE’s hydro team maintain the dams safely and effectively.

“The drones have been a powerful tool and I think we can do a lot more going forward,” said Nicolas von Gersdorff, SCE’s chief dam safety engineer.

Future use of the drones includes FAA approval to fly outside the line of sight — which the FAA doesn’t yet allow — as well as the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

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August/ September 2020