Unmanned Aircraft Systems: NV Energy’s Newest Tool to Improve Customer Reliability

In early 2016, NV Energy adopted a team approach and incorporated the FAA-designated Nevada UAS Test Site managed by the Nevada Institute for Autonomous System (NIAS) and commercial industry specialists in the discovery process of integrating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, into utility operations in order to help improve customer service and reliability. Since then, NV Energy has conducted three test flights over company equipment to help identify equipment anomalies and make repairs.

To advance the use of UAS technology which is changing rapidly, NV Energy has been working with NIAS, AviSight, and other stakeholders on the discovery process for part 107 waiver development. The main objective of this collaboration has been to work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to discover the requirements for developing a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) approval path forward to inspect utility infrastructure. The ability to use this technology will allow for safe, cost-effective and innovative data collection.


To safely integrate unmanned aviation into the manned aviation National Airspace System (NAS), test flights and operational UAS demonstration are a necessary step for full UAS integration in the NAS. Each safe flight builds the safety case for advancing UAS technology and will potentially allow for streamlining the process for approvals.


“We are excited to be teamed with the State of Nevada for testing, developing and advancing UAS technology with the Nevada UAS Test Site and Nevada-based commercial UAS companies,” said Mary Simmons, Vice President of Business Development and Community Strategy for NV Energy.


NV Energy’s next test flight toward this initiative will take place the week of December 18, 2017, in central Nevada. This flight will incorporate the use of a new ground control system (GCS) that will ultimately be certified to fly drones, collect data, provide near real-time distribution in any environment and ensure that NV Energy has the safest flight operations technology can provide for BVLOS operations. The objective of this inspection is to use a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 55 paired with a Riegl Vux 1 LiDAR to inspect approximately 41 miles of line.


About NV Energy
NV Energy, Inc. provides a wide range of energy services to 1.3 million customers throughout Nevada and more than 40 million tourists annually. NV Energy is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company, are doing business as NV Energy. The company is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. Information about NV Energy is available on the company’s website, TwitterFacebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed via nvenergy.com.


About AviSight
AviSight is an aerospace and remote sensing services company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our company employs aerospace systems, remote sensing technology, analytics, and data collection/distribution systems for commercial and government clients. For more information about AviSight please visit www.avisight.com.


About the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS)
On behalf of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) and FAA-designated Nevada Unmanned Aviation Test Site leads the growth of the Nevada Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS) Industry through business teaming relationships, collaborating with primary research institutions on UAS research and development, and enhancing the Nevada UAS Industry knowledge base to attract new and permanent business and create jobs in the State of Nevada.

Learn more at www.nias-uas.com or www.flynevada.com.

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