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14 unmanned systems inside June/July 2016 AIR HARDWARE Systems like the microdrones md4-1000 can be used for a variety of applications, including inspections. RAECON INDUSTRIES BEGAN USING microdrones ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO TO PROVIDE UTILITY INSPEC- TION SERVICES. They did a lot of research before in- vesting in a UAS, pilot Ben Van Lare said, and decided on the md4-1000 because it was a safe, high-quality system that could provide the data their clients needed. Con- sumer grade systems just aren't equipped for this type of application, he said, and can cause interference and other issues during these types of inspections. Many clients see the value UAS can bring to utility inspection, but are still nervous about the process, Van Lare said. If Van Lare and his team came in with a $2,000 drone to inspect their equipment, they wouldn't be happy and probably wouldn't agree to it. Clients feel more confdent in the service knowing Raecon has invested in a high-quality, proven platform. "It makes us more legit," Van Lare said. It shows we understand the importance of maintaining their site and making sure no accidents occur. Sending a drone 10 feet away from a 50,000 voltage tower can be quite daunting to utility companies. They want to make sure the company providing the service knows what they're doing and isn't going to damage their utility line for a buck." And the point isn't to just provide clients with expensive photos, Van Lare said. The end product is geo located thermal imagery that shows them if they have a damaged asset. If they inspect 100 miles of power line, they can show the client there's a damaged asset at mile 52. "We give the end user additional views and additional data that can help them maintain their asset," he said. "Anyone can provide photos. It's how you assess and deliver them. We geolocate them and provide them in a map platform, where they can click and see exactly where their structures are on the map." DELAIR-TECH also uses the DT18 TO PERFORM POW- ER LINE INSPECTIONS, said Benjamin Benharrosh, the frm's co-founder and sales and marketing director, and the system's endurance makes it well suited for this type of application. THE UAS DETECTS SPATIAL ENCROACH- MENT. Once the images are collected, they're processed and a map is delivered to the utility company. "We create a report with pictures of the anomaly, the GPS coordinates and how close the tree is to a power line," Benharrosh said. "From the fight to acquiring the data to delivering the data, it's all automated." UTILITY INSPECTION Photos courtesy of (Top) Raecon Industries and (Bottom) Delair-Tech