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DP&L senseFly and Sinclair College partner to develop drone program


Ohio-based energy provider, Dayton Power & Light (DP&L), in partnership with Sinclair College’s National UAS Training and Certification Center, is employing a fleet of senseFly eBee X fixed-wing drones to improve its large-scale data collection and mapping capacity. Over a nine-month period, DP&L, senseFly and Sinclair College will use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to inspect 4,000 miles of power transmission lines, supporting electricity delivery for the 1.25 million residents of the Dayton, Ohio region.

Under the collaboration, DP&L and Sinclair will employ four senseFly eBee X drones to gain visual insights that will help address the diverse challenges facing the energy industry, when conducting equipment inspections – such as vegetation encroachment near power lines or damage caused by storms that can lead to electricity delivery disruptions. The resulting high-resolution imagery will be used to build accurate assessments of affected areas through the generation of maps, digital elevation models (DEM) and other products. The technology will also aid in day-to-day essential maintenance, creating long-term efficiencies and streamlining energy management.

To support its team in deploying and integrating the eBee X drones and to generate quality and accurate data, DP&L is also partnering with Sinclair College to spearhead the drone training efforts—leveraging the State of Ohio’s TechCred program to train multiple operators and equip the DP&L team with the knowledge needed to execute drone mapping and inspection projects.

 “Having access to accurate and timely data to detect any changes to the power lines, whether gradual or sudden, is crucial to keep power up-and-running, particularly in Ohio, where storms are frequent,” said Rob Beeler, Customer Business Manager at DP&L. “This partnership with senseFly and Sinclair College is a key milestone for us, and we’re excited to be playing a part in exploring the full potential of UAS technology in the energy sector at scale. We’re also happy to be working closely with the local Dayton community throughout the project, keeping them informed of the project’s progress as well as our ongoing commitment to limiting power outages and providing better customer service.”

Dr. Andrew Shepherd, Executive Director and Chief Scientist for UAS at Sinclair College, added, “The eBee X is a high-quality system that is easy to use and simple to integrate into workflows, so it was a quick decision to adopt senseFly for this project. The end-to-end usability of the technology is also key here, allowing us to quickly generate a detailed map and terrain data and seamlessly create a permanent record for DP&L to share with internal and external stakeholders.”

Gilles Labossière, CEO at senseFly, said, “This is an excellent example of how organizations can use multiple drones on a project to help increase capacity and improve efficiencies. The adoption of drone technology has important benefits across the energy industry, and we are pleased to support Sinclair College and DP&L to highlight how drones can radically improve workflows.”

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