Article, Corporations, Defense, Energy, Technology

Avoiding a big blackout: There’s a drone for that

The biggest blackout ever in North America happened 13 years ago when high-voltage power lines brushed against overgrown trees in northern Ohio, triggering breakdowns on the grid that turned out lights in New York City and across eight states as well as Ontario, Canada. The incident in August 2003 demonstrated the importance of trimming trees adjacent to electricity transmission and distribution lines, and the difficulties of doing so when millions of trees dot hundreds of thousands of miles of lines. But now a Palo Alto, Calif., company is teaming up with the U.S. electric-power industry to test the effectiveness of using unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as drones – to help utilities scan power lines faster, cheaper and smarter. In the process, the collaboration between Sharper Shape and the Edison Electric Institute could help enable greater commercial use of…

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