International Data Corporation (IDC) has published an IDC Innovators report profiling four companies that use drones to carry out power asset inspections.

The four companies are Cyberhawk, Delair, PrecisionHawk, and Sterblue.

Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are unmanned aircraft that can be remotely controlled and are semiautonomous or fully autonomous.

The profiled companies offer inspection services for power (generation, transmission, and distribution) assets by either deploying commoditized or specifically developed drones. Utilities have the freedom of choosing between data collection via drones, software solutions for data processing, or end-to-end services.

“Deploying unmanned aerial vehicles for asset inspections in the utility sector has proven to be effective and affordable. Both aging infrastructure — such as thermal power plants, grid substations, and poles — and newly built renewables can benefit from better drone hardware and software,” says Phevos Skalidis, research manager at IDC Energy Insights. “Scaling operations has often been hampered by the lack of licensed pilots, regulatory obstacles, and missing integration with existing enterprise IT systems.”

The report, IDC Innovators: Drones for Power Asset Inspections, 2020, profiles four companies that deploy drones for power asset inspections:

* Cyberhawk started as early as 2008, predominantly working for the oil and gas sector, but has since expanded to the adjacent electricity utility vertical.

* Delair brings expertise in transmission and distribution inspection, also using its in-house constructed fixed-wing drones.

* PrecisionHawk has considerable exposure to investor-owned, US utilities and is one of the few companies in the US to have obtained a BVLOS 107 waiver.

* Sterblue successfully participated in the incubation program of Y Combinator, was a finalist at Free Electrons. and recently open-sourced part of its IP.