Collaboration with UK firm brings drone utility infrastructure inspection to the USA

Collaboration with UK firm brings drone utility infrastructure inspection to the USA


Colorado based Unmanned Experts (UMEX), a leading consultancy and training company in the United States Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) market has joined forces with the UK head-quartered Cyberhawk Innovations, the world’s leader in UAS aerial surveys, to deliver market-leading critical infrastructure inspections (CII) throughout the USA.

The partnership comes as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Section 333 Exemption process has matured and real world commercial drone operations in the USA are now legal.

In particular, this opens up CII for utility and power companies which require regular, comprehensive surveys of their electricity transmission and distribution towers, sub-stations, coal and gas fired power plants and renewable assets such as wind turbines and solar panels.

To date, European regulators have led the way in the civil and commercial use of UAS and a considerable body of knowledge and experience has been built up across the Atlantic. As the industry leader in this field, Scotland-headquartered Cyberhawk has teamed with UMEX to bring its safe, proven UAS operating process and powerful iHawk asset management software to the USA.

Keven Gambold, CEO at UMEX said: “UMEX and Cyberhawk have a close relationship and we are pleased to have formalized a Memorandum of Understanding which will bring a step-change in capability to the American CII market.”

“As the adoption of drones becomes more commonplace, this partnership provides experienced operators with a tremendous safety record and cutting-edge data management tools to this vital area.”

As part of the MoU, training, equipment and procedures have been exchanged to begin CII operations in the coming weeks. UMEX has already been selected as a utility vendor for one major utility company as well as for a number of demonstration flights and pilot programs this autumn.

Cyberhawk is a pioneer in the conversion of drone-captured data into powerful asset management information in the cloud and will work with UMEX to deliver its iHawk software suite. UMEX clients will benefit from intuitive, map-based, visual and consistent inspection reporting that only requires a browser to access and features photographic evidence behind each defect classification.

Craig Roberts, CEO at Cyberhawk said: “It is positive to see that the US is moving in the same direction as the UK and Europe, where UAS inspection has become best practice in many industries over the last few years. I consider the MoU with UMEX to be a significant step towards making this happen.”

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Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.