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Inspecting 10,000 poles in one week.

Challenge

Firmatek was tasked with the ambitious goal of inspecting 10,000 utility poles in one week with inclement weather forecasted on inspection days. This would be physically impossible to achieve with manual inspection techniques that require bucket trucks and crews to travel to each pole, set up operations on every site, and cross into many public and private properties.

“For the most part, most utilities don't inspect the tops of the poles. It's pretty labor intensive. The legacy methodology is a guy in a bucket truck and setting up at each pole. But that's very time consuming and access can be an issue... when you start getting into some more rural areas the timeline on target is already significantly higher so you are looking at 15 - 20 minutes to get that good thorough inspection."

Eric Bitzko, Senior Vice President of Electric Utilities Firmatek

Skydio Solution

Skydio aerial robotics gave Firmatek the capability to inspect all the distributed assets and assign precise geotags to create an easily referenced library for future inspections.

Results

Firmatek was able to inspect a pole every 20-30 seconds, decreasing the project timeline from three months to just one week.

Now with a drone, you are looking at 20-30 seconds per pole and it's difficult to see on the controller at that speed, so having that secondary checkpoint of Skydio autonomy to maintain a level of safety while flying is imperative.

Eric Bitzko, Senior Vice President of Electric Utilities Firmatek

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