Transmission and Distribution World Magazine is reporting that Duke Energy and partners have announced a pilot program to determines whether aerial inspections can be cost-effectively achieved by doing the inspection with sUAS.

In executing the sUAS pilot project, Duke Energy collaborated with several partners and tested multiple platforms. The project participants included the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, one of the six national UAS test centers, HAZON Solutions and AeroVironment Inc. The platforms used were the Aeyron SkyRanger, DJI Inspire, 3DRobotics X8+, DJI S1000, AeroVironment Shrike and AeroVironment Puma.

The first objective of the pilot project was to understand the capabilities of different vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) sUAS platforms (quadcopter/hexacopter/octocopter), and to determine the minimum technical characteristics of certain payloads, such as electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras, required to achieve the desire data quality.

The second objective of the pilot project was to understand the capabilities of the fixed-wing platform called Puma from AeroVironment, along with advanced payloads such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR), multispectral camera and 24MP photogrammetry.

More on the program at T&D World's website here.