ComEd trials drones for vegetation management near powerlines
ComEd, the utility which powers the lives of more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois (or 70% of the state’s population), has started using drones for vegetation management near power lines.
A unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, ComEd says its pilot drone program began almost a month ago when a spraying drone delivered herbicide on two acres of right-of-way land in Forest View, Illinois. This test site sits in an industrial area full of tall, dense vegetation including buckthorn, box elder, and mulberry plants. Should the vegetation have grown onto the nearby power lines, it could have caused outages or service disruptions in the area.
The drone deployment process took some 45 minutes, during which 0.75 gallons of herbicide were sprayed precisely where required using GPS coordinates. In contrast, ComEd says, manual workers would have taken approximately two days and 8 gallons of herbicide solution to complete the job.