With the increasing technological advances of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), an initial assessment of the changing environment of UAS-aided transmission line inspection was conducted. This report presents the findings of a focused scope investigation of the state of UAS capabilities with respect to transmission line inspection, as well as a survey of the current UAS usage among utilities. Traditional (manned aircraft and ground based) transmission line assessment methodologies are reviewed, and the potential for analogous assessments to be completed through the use of UAS is developed. Three principal areas of interest are identified: aircraft performance metrics, communication limitations, and sensor system capabilities. Each of these areas are analyzed to provide the reader with a preliminary understanding of the field. Furthermore, a brief breakdown of UAS requirements by mission type is offered. A limited study of the current and proposed future regulatory environment is presented, including some mentionof Visual-Line-of-Sight (VLOS) restrictions, and Beyond Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) possibilities. To further assess the readiness of UAS in transmission line inspection, an analysis of potential operational risks and corresponding risk management tactics are explored.
Unmanned Aerial System, Drone, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Transmission Line Inspections, Transmission Line Asset Management