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Air Gap Inspection Crawler

Project Overview

ULC Robotics conducted an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inspection of a 12-acre substation in New York State. ULC’s pilots flew multiple sensors in a single, expertly executed inspection, delivering superior productivity and data capture while improving safety, system reliability, and utility efficiency.

Industry: Electric T&D

Business Areas Addressed:

  • Substation Operations & Maintenance
  • Vegetation Management
  • Corporate Security

Solution Improved:

  • System reliability
  • Safety and security
  • Utility efficiency


  • 100% data capture
  • Delivery of high-resolution color and thermal imagery
  • All data captured in half day (10-minutes flight time) versus two days
  • ULC US-Built Multirotor UAS


  • 42MP DSLR
  • FLIR Thermal Cameras


  • 200ft / 61m


Our electric utility customer identified several obstacles impeding their goal of more secure substations and enhanced operations efficiency.

  • Lack of current visual asset and condition data
  • Collection of infrared data requires the use of handheld devices
  • Spontaneous manual inspection by different groups affects productivity and incurs repetitive travel and labor costs

ULC proposed an in-depth aerial inspection and analysis of their substation and was able to identify several areas in which UAV are able to deliver significant improvements over traditional inspection methods.

Inspection & Results

Using first-class, high-resolution and thermal imaging cameras mounted on a US-built multirotor UAV, ULC completed the entire substation inspection in approximately 2 hours (including set-up) and provided:

  • Detailed visual data to help meet inspection requirements and identify issues with substation condition, vegetation growth, and security breaches.
  • High resolution visual and thermal imagery of the substation, providing current information not available from Google Earth view or any out-of-date survey data.
  • A full set of geotagged visual images.

By utilizing the powerful technology employed by UAVs, ULC Robotics can promote a more efficient use of utility resources, enhance electric system reliability and security, and improve the safety of employees.

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