The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) has completed transmission power line inspections using drones in collaboration with AiRXOS and the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO).
The inspections were carried out on the Pittsburg-Valliant 345-kilovolt transmission at a CNO-owned property in the southeast of the state as part of the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP).
These recent inspections have focused on safe, automated flights that make use of visual observers and data capture where future planned tests will incorporate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), without any visual observer in operation.
Executive director of advance technology initiatives of Choctaw Nation’s Division of Strategic Development, James Grimsley, said: “The Choctaw Nation continues to be excited to work with the FAA, along with PSO, AEP Transmission, and AirXOS, as we begin to foster innovation and utilize a new technology in today’s world.”
The inspection marks the latest attempt to test the use cases for drones in a range of tasks including emergency response and storm damage assessment of transmission lines.
AiRXOS CEO, Ken Stewart, added: “Choctaw Nation and PSO have worked well together in this effort — proving that advanced operations like BVLOS, and at night, will deliver significant value for future transmission and distribution inspection operations.
“We’re proud to support this work with our Air Mobility Platform, and are looking forward to extending operations that will continue to set the stage for the future of T&D inspections.”
Future drone missions for the CNO IPP team will include testing agricultural applications, public safety and infrastructure inspections and additional night operations over tribal property.