Unmanned Aerial Services

Unmanned Aerial Services

Data that once took days to obtain through traditional survey and inventory methods is now gathered in a matter of hours with greater accuracy and far more detail utilizing a UAV. Using a UAV platform for data collection sensors and high-resolution cameras provides a vantage point for the most complete information and imagery available, and it is not subject to the same limitations in access as ground-based data collection. At McCord Engineering, we continue to grow our fleet, develop new technologies and add modern sensors to collect valuable data. We have a team of experienced utility industry professionals and FAA licensed pilots, dedicated to applying state-of-the-art technologies to produce high-quality deliverables for our clients. Our objective is to provide highly refined and accurate data to our clients about their facilities in the field in order to support specific business decisions and objectives. While many other firms are working toward diversifying their services across multiple industries, at McCord Engineering, we are staying focused on developing the best possible services and resources for the electric utility industry.

Current UAV Platforms

  • TDP-X8
  • Helicopter UAV

UAV Sensors

  • LiDAR
  • FLIR Infrared
  • 4K Video
  • High Resolution Still Cameras
  • Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

In most cases, all sensors can collect data simultaneously in one flight. This creates a series of data that can be used for many different applications.

Our Most Common Applications Include:

Powerline Engineering / NERC Compliance

The data collected from our multiple sensors paints a great picture of what is actually out in the field. The combination of LiDAR and data from our on-site weather stations creates a very accurate model of existing attachment heights and sag conditions of conductors. Once this information is integrated into our PLS-CADD design software, the result is the most accurate powerline engineering product at a very economical rate to our clients.

Vegetation Management

Using a combination of LiDAR, images, video and NDVI cameras, our team gathers the data necessary to run a highly accurate vegetation analysis. With this data, we can determine fall-in and grow-in violations, height of vegetation, identify dead or unhealthy trees and more.

System Mapping

With a combination of sensors, we can map or update mapping on existing powerline systems. Our techniques allow us to obtain precise coordinates of pole locations and gather asset information through images and video. The collected information can also be used to obtain communication attachment data.

Substation Surveys

By gathering data with our LIDAR sensor, FLIR and high-resolution cameras, we are able to deliver valuable as-built information to our customers. If you are planning a new substation, our team can gather centimeter grade survey data to assist in site design.

Utility Structure Inspections

Our UAV’s equipped with FLIR infrared and high-resolution imagery provide our team with the necessary data to perform a quality visual inspection of facilities. This approach results in a safer work environment completed at a lower cost than traditional means.

Communication Tower Inspections

Traditionally, towers are inspected by climbing the structures and taking photos and notes along the way. With today’s technology, we are able to collect high-definition images and video as well as lidar and infrared. This creates a much safer environment with more accurate data. We can deliver this data in user-friendly viewing software. Imagine a georeferenced map showing all tower locations; inside each tower location, you can view and measure the most up-to-date data at each location.

Disaster Management

In the event of a disaster, MEI stands equipped and ready to help assess the situation and deliver the results in a timely manner. Our UAV’s are capable of collecting photo/video feed and broadcasting real-time information back to a command center. This helps expedite the remediation process, as well as provide information for media outlets and critical insurance documentation. McCord Engineering’s UAV Program was originally developed for our in-house engineering needs as well as a service to our existing clients in the electric utility industry. Our core business remains focused on serving the core business of our utility clients. Our UAV’s and the sensors mounted on them also produce a great product for a number of other applications including:

  • Proposed Corridor Surveys
  • Pipeline Right-Of-Way Inspections
  • Photo/Video Shoots
  • Construction Site Inspections
  • Insurance Inspections
  • Volumetric Surveys
  • Topographic Surveys
  • As-Built Surveys

For more information about Unmanned Aerial Services, Contact Curtis Youngblood.

Curtis Youngblood is Geospatial Services – Director of Data Collection and Technology. Mr. Youngblood provides McCord with some of the most capable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) available to the commercial market. Mr. Youngblood has been involved with the design, manufacture and piloting of unmanned aircraft for over thirty years and has won numerous US National and World Championships. Mr. Youngblood’s significant technical expertise in aircraft design, flight controls and a variety of other highly specialized fields has enabled McCord Engineering to pioneer the most advanced data collection technologies available to the industries we serve.

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