November is Critical Infrastructure Protection Month, with that in mind; it is pertinent to talk about the use of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAV´s) in support of Critical Infrastructure protection, Management and Maintenance. This blog is aimed towards local and federal governments as well as those contracting firms hired to provide protection, management and maintenance services related to Critical Infrastructure.
Most of us take for granted the availability of Utility Services like power and potable water. We only take notice of the importance of these commodities when they are cut off due to natural disasters, non-scheduled maintenance outages, or simple failures that take away these services temporarily. Maintaining a country´s critical infrastructure, like the electrical generation plants, natural gas production and distribution systems, potable water and sewage treatment plants and road systems is a monumental task that requires armies of workers tackling a very difficult job. The good news is that technology advancements have made this task a more efficient and safer endeavor.
The use of SUAV´s in support of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Management is a modality that is increasing in popularity. SUAV´s are being utilized to inspect long stretches of power lines carrying extreme voltages without the need to cut off power, like it used to be required in the event that a human was performing this task. Not only does the drone eliminate the need to deny service for a period of time, it takes away the risk of human injury. Same is true for drones used to inspect damns and very hard to reach areas where it used to require humans to mobilize to remote areas spending many hours out in the elements and making the inspection process a long and tedious one.
SUAV´s with high-end sensors are capable of detecting failures that a human can´t. It is a self-contained piece of hardware that provides real time data to the operator, that is sitting many feet or miles away in the safety of a protected and controlled area while the drone does the hard work. Operations like gas pipeline inspection, where the risk of gas leaks is an ever-present danger are now minimized by the use of drones equipped with sensors that detect problem areas. With the geo-referencing capability, these systems provide the operator and the management agency a very precise view of the trouble area and the magnitude of the repairs to be done.
Aside from being used as a maintenance tool, drones can also provide security for all of the critical infrastructure architecture. Their sensors can detect intruders at day or night, on a cloudy dark night or a rainy day. Today´s camera systems, equipped with thermal capability can detect the slightest temperature change and identify potential saboteurs before they reach the area of interest.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, drones come in many different flavors. Not all drones are apt for a specific job. Choosing the right tool for the job at hand requires vast experience and knowledge. The professionals at JohnsTek Inc are capable of designing a solution that accommodates to your Critical Infrastructure Protection needs. Call us today to discuss your specific needs and allow us to customize a solution that makes sense to your application.
JohnsTek Inc. can provide the advice, equipment, training and service for your specific needs. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and help you put eyes on the blind spots. JohnsTek Inc. is ready and fully capable to respond to any client´s request with guaranteed results.
Author: Jaime Vila @JTI_JVila (Twitter)
Jaime Vila is the General Manager for JohnsTek LATAM.