Aerial drone firm Cyberhawk and Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) have launched software to improve transmission tower inspections. Their product, iHawk, lets users inspect sites remotely and then download and view the analysis anywhere in the world.
“iHawk delivers significant safety benefits by eliminating the need for engineers to climb towers for inspections or work in hazardous environments,” said Dave Gardner, the SSE Director of Transmission. “The imagery and information gathered gives a more detailed and highly accurate analysis of the condition of our assets.”
SSE began working with Cyberhawk in 2009 to introduce Remotely Operated Aerial Vehicles (ROAVs) to industrial inspection in the utility, renewables and oil and gas industries. The small devices are less than a meter in length and are remotely operated by a two man team. They replace using a helicopter to assess the towers, allowing closer inspection and the ability to capture high quality images and data. Also, they also remove the need for engineers to undertake hazardous climbing inspections and as they are battery operated they’re extremely quiet.
SSE has worked closely with the firm to help evolve the technology with Cyberhawk and awarded the company a contract to inspect additional towers for its transmission business. The Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) high-voltage transmission network includes more than 11,000 towers and 120 substation sites.
“As well as reducing the risks associated with working at height, our software enables us to deliver accurate, verified data to SSE Transmission in a complete package created specifically for the utilities market,” said Chris Fleming, the CEO of Cyberhawk.