After Hurricane Maria took out much of Puerto Rico’s power, drones have been helping energy workers string power lines over the country’s dangerous mountain territory.
Hurricane Maria was the most intense tropical disaster of 2017, wiping out the island’s power. In December, three months after the storm, over half of Puerto Rico’s population was still without electricity. Much of this had to do with the mountainous terrain which makes it hard and dangerous for workers to string power lines. Drones are stepping up to the plate.
Duke Energy is using a number of commercial drones and certified pilots to bring power back to hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans. Along with searching for downed power lines and broken utility infrastructure, drones are doing some of the heavy lifting by stringing new lines across rough and dangerous terrain that is inaccessible to workers.
Without the use of drones, energy workers would have to slowly and precariously make their way through treacherous gorges, mountains, and forests in search of fallen lines. Instead, drones give workers and eye-in-the-sky to identify where new lines need to be hooked up.
Making energy workers jobs safer, and restoring power to a hurricane struck island—another beneficial use case for drones has been uncovered.