Florida utility FPL’s $1.2M survey drone is now reporting for duty
Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), an electric utility that serves more than 12 million people in Florida, says its $1.2 million FPLAir One drone is ready for primetime. The launch of the FPLAir One, the utility adds, is a milestone in itself because no other uncrewed aircraft of its size has ever been used before for commercial purposes outside of an FAA test site.
With its wingspan slightly longer than that of a Cessna, FPLAir One is capable of flying from South Florida to North Florida to the panhandle and back, on a single flight. During its 20 hours of flight time, the drone can capture thousands of high-quality images and videos of electric infrastructure, helping the FPL crews to identify potential issues before an outage occurs.
The drone can also quickly provide ground crews with critical information to get the lights back on following severe weather events. This is because FPLAir One can withstand tropical storm force winds, and can gather real-time…