In March 2015, Cyberhawk was called upon to carry out close visual inspections of 40 distribution towers for a UK energy giant in its southern region south of England.
Very few drone operators would have been able to complete this operation due to the towers being within 50m of major roads, meaning Congested Areas Operating Safety Case (CAOSC) procedures applied.
Cyberhawk was one of the first companies to be granted approval to fly in congested areas by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and under CAOSC, we are able to fly our UAVs in crowded areas to within 10m of vehicles, structures and people not under our control.
The necessary permissions had to be secured from each individual landowner before Cyberhawk could undertake this CAOSC scope of work..
Traditionally, this inspection and maintenance activity would have been carried out by a full size helicopter and linesman team, however this was not viable due to the towers proximity to a major road.
Cyberhawk’s asset management software, iHawk, allowed the client to quickly understand the condition of each tower and access high definition images of each defect, as well as engineering commentary. These images also allowed the client to see the severity of each defect and therefore prioritise repairs, which would not have been possible through a linesman’s analysis.
The use of UAVs significantly improved safety levels by reducing the requirement for personnel to climb the towers and work at height. Thanks to Cyberhawk’s ability to inspect eight towers per day, versus a linesman who can only climb two to three towers a day, SSE also reported that the project was successfully completed with significant time and cost savings.