I embarked on my journey as an apprentice lineman 22 years and 7 months ago with Georgia Power Company, never imagining the incredible changes that would come about in the utility industry.
Innovations in the Utility Industry
From the advent of fall protection for climbing poles, to the fault location sectionalization and restoration schemes in place today. I believe the next phase of evaluating faults on a power system; distribution or transmission, involves the use of autonomous robots to allow for operators, engineers, and maintenance personnel to have remote eyes in near real time of the power system.
In 2016 I took a role in the Southern Company R&D department as a UAS pilot. Since then I have helped to make UAS commonplace in the vocabulary of utilities across the globe. From patrolling lines post storm to concrete condition inspections for the NRC, drones have become commonplace in everyday processes all across the energy vertical.
Seeing Skydio in Action
In 2018 I was introduced to Skydio. They demoed the Skydio 2 for us on an energized 500 KV line. Up to this point, it was understood that drones couldn’t get close to energized transmission voltages. This was due to erratic flight behaviors as a result of compass errors. On my first flight with the Skydio 2 I was amazed at the fact that I could get the drone well within minimum approach distance for a human on 500 KV. The collision avoidance capability combined with the resolution of the camera allowed us to see details on the welds, lot numbers, and other details we had been unable to resolve before on a 500 KV spacer damper, and this was the second drone to come out of the Skydio ecosystem. I was immediately excited about the future of collision avoidance and the subsequent growth in autonomous capabilities with this demonstration.
Today I am proud to announce that I have taken a Solutions Specialist role with Skydio. In my role, I will be the voice of the utility customer, speaking the same energy language. I am excited to be able to assist in the solving of everyday problems in the renewables, gas, generation, and power delivery verticals.
I have been so impressed with the culture here. Specialists and experts everywhere, ready and willing to lend a hand to the new guy. I’m excited to begin work helping a fast growing, cutting edge American drone manufacturer become the best drone in the utility industry and the world.
Reach out to me if there’s a problem you think we could help with!