Australian regulator approves Carbonix BVLOS powerline inspection in South Australia

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has approved Carbonix Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone flights to inspect powerlines for South Australian Power Networks (SAPN). Currently, inspections are conducted by conventional crewed aircraft (helicopters and light planes) or ground crews.

For countries like Australia with large remote populations, powerline inspections and maintenance can be a major challenge. For SAPN, which has 30% of its customers in regional areas, the ability to conduct efficient and effective powerline monitoring brings significant benefits to customers and the environment.

According to the press release, replacing traditional monitoring methods with Carbonix aircraft will bring an up to 80% reduction in operating costs and up to 98% reduction in CO2 output for SAPN. Carbonix aircraft also improve safety by removing people from arduous manual monitoring missions and risks from helicopter and light plane accidents. There are also wildlife and farm animal benefits as well, with less noise shock and environmental impact.

Carbonix RPAS are designed to fly for more than eight hours without refuelling, while carrying high-resolution multi-sensor payloads. Carbonix UASs are also manufactured to fly low and slow, enabling them to capture the best picture quality and data insights available, says the company. Carbonix has proved its technical capabilities and paved the way for Carbonix UASs to inspect South Australia’s immense electricity distribution network of more than 180,000 square kilometres.

Paul Roberts, Head of Corporate Affairs for SA Power Networks, said: “Our crews drive about 20 million kilometres annually patrolling and maintaining our vast network. Being able to deploy over-the-horizon drone patrols will drive greater efficiency in our asset management program and provide genuine safety benefits for our people and community.”

(Image: Carbonix)

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