Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR NEW APPLICATIONS 52   February/March 2018 unmanned systems inside 1 ensure they could validate the photos in terms of the resolution needed and see defects at the proper size. While the team had to develop software and incorporate hardware modifi- cations to make this happen, they'd already been meeting similar inspection requirements in the wind industry and were able to adapt some of the already existing hardware for this mission. Cyberhawk was on site for six days, Connolly said, with the inspection taking about four. The other two days were spent working out security issues and checking the data collected. At the end of each day, engineers received a report so they could validate the coverage and determine if they needed to re-f ly an area. They received a full report about two weeks after the f lights were completed. Typically, engineers would only have a pa- per report to work with after these inspections, Connolly said, including drawings with each defect marked. Now they have a digital report that covers 100 percent of both domes. "I have validated coverage and pictures of ar- eas that were not flawed that I can refer back to in the future. That's invaluable," Aubrey said. "In the past, we only took a picture if we saw some- thing of interest. We wouldn't take pictures of ar- Photos courtesy of Marc Gandillon (Flyability). eas that had no indications, so it's a much more comprehensive inspection, as far as documenta- tion goes, than we've ever had in the past." Of course, performing a drone inspection at a nuclear facility didn't come without its chal- lenges. The power plant was live, Connolly said, with two generators spitting a lot of elec- tricity—so pilots had to deal with the mag- netic fields. This caused a lot of interference with GPS, as did the high steam content in the domes. The rebar reinforcing the concrete had a high magnetic field as well. The interference meant the drone had to be f lown manually most of the time, with pilots switching between using GPS and not using GPS. That's more challenging, but the pilots were trained to handle the situation. It was also dif- ficult to operate in the noisy, congested environ- ment, and to get the UAS to fly in small spaces. Still, even with the challenges, the system proved its worth in terms of safety alone. "We quartered off an area below where the drone was flying in the event of a failure, but it had no impact on the folks in the plant," Aubrey said. "We were able to get very close to the dome structure itself so instead of three weeks down we were down to one week of time on site and we cut the cost of the exam by one-third." Ontario Power's UAS Fleet Ontario Power Generation (OPG) performed its first drone inspection in 2015, which was a proof of concept of a vacuum building at one of the company's nuclear facilities, said Tim Trebilcock, scientist/technical officer, UAV Operations, and one of the drone program founders. This first inspection kicked off that program, which now encompasses a f leet of 18 UAS. It also led to the creation of OPG's Technology Innovation Group. The team has four qualified pilots who f ly drones at various facilities to complete various tasks, said Vinay Kirpalaney, section manager, Technology, Innovation and UAVs. The group includes a development lab, where they examine 2 2. The valve that was the main element of interest during an inspection. The valve is located on a tank that's in the reactor building. The Elios collision tolerant drone from Flyability is deployed in a variety of nuclear facilities to perform different tasks, including leak detection. 1. An underground tank room. The image was captured during an annual inspection. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) operates more than 60 hydroelectric stations, which are typically in far-off locations, said Vinay Kirpalaney, section manager, Technology, Innovation and UAVs. These areas are difficult for their pilots to reach, so they're now starting to train employees who work in the centers so they can deploy a system when needed. EXPANDING THE PROGRAM

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