RPAS Operational Requirements & Specifications For Aerial Inspection BVLOS
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
SSEN Future Networks Team
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Innovation Funding Incentive
The use of helicopters to inspect overhead line assets is an expensive exercise and significant cost savings could be realised by the deployment of unmanned aerial systems. One or two of the UK DNOs are already successfully using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for inspection tasks. However these systems are not suited to Beyond Visual Line Of Sight [BVLOS] operations.
To achieve this demanding goal of BVLOS, requires an expert approach to addressing the following three critical issues for electricity overhead-lines:
- Clearly defining BVLOS operations for which Civil Aviation Authority Approval [CAA] can be sought and secured.
- A financial analysis that can provide a clear indication as to where categorized BVLOS operations will provide the best Return On Investment [ROI] for the DNOs and be viable for current and/or as yet undefined future operations.
- Specifying a Remotely Piloted Aerial System [RPAS] that can provide a long endurance capability and fly BVLOS as well as meeting CAA regulatory requirements.
The goal of this project is to be able to define an industry standard electricity specification for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems operating Beyond Visual Line Of Sight for electricity distribution network aerial inspection operations, confirmed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. By the end of the project, the industry will be in a position to decide whether it wants to invest in such systems and if affirmative, fund acquisitions or development as necessary and with the goal of starting to introduce such systems into service for BVLOS operations in a stepwise manner, in close co-operation with and as agreed by the CAA.