Oct. 2, 2015 – NM Group (Network Mapping, Inc), a leading data capture, analytics and engineering services provider to electrical utilities, today announced a collaboration with Pulse (Pulse Aerospace, LLC). Pulse Aerospace is the premier developer of helicopter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and flight control technology in the United States. Pulse’s HeliSynth technology brings flight control, payload, and endurance capabilities historically limited to high cost military vehicles, to commercial markets at relevant price points.
Pulse’s UAS based technology augments NM Group’s LiDAR and inspection services to the electrical power utilities industry. The announcement took place at the ASCE Electrical Transmission and Substation Structures Conference in Branson, MO. NM Group and Pulse have been working together over a period of six months to research, integrate and test a suitable LiDAR payload and navigational system for transmission engineering applications. For existing assets, this includes asbuilt modeling, thermal ratings analysis, up-rating and vegetation management.
The system will also be used for new T-line routing and design. Pulse’s Vapor 55 UAS is ideal for these requirements, allowing interchangeable remote sensing equipment such as thermal infrared, ultraviolet, LiDAR, and metric cameras for detailed condition assessment. The system will initially be operated within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) commensurate with existing Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) regulations, and will enable utilities to prepare procedures for expected future Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. Nick Ferguson, NM Group SVP – Business Development, commented; “Our clients have expressed a keen interest in UAV-LiDAR data collection as part of their ratings and new build toolkit. This technology opens up immediate value for small projects and the potential future BVLOS applications are staggering. TM NM Group’s utility background and LiDAR expertise will ensure users obtain pragmatic and high-quality deliverables”.
NM Group and Pulse will be offering service package options. These include turnkey collection, processing and delivery, and also OEM purchase with a maintenance and data processing service package directly and through distribution partners. Aaron Lessig, Pulse CEO, commented; “Pulse’s Vapor UAS series leads the industry in payload capacity, endurance, precision, and safety. Our Vapor 55 UAS carries integrated remote sensing equipment traditionally limited to manned aircraft. We are ideally positioned to work with partners such as NM Group to deliver the next generation of data capture systems”. The collaboration has been warmly received by industry.
ASCE SEI Electrical Transmission and Substation Structures Conference Chair, Vice President of Powerline Systems, Inc., Otto Lynch, commented; “The use of VLOS UAVs will help to open up even small transmission and distribution projects to the benefits of LiDAR. Future BVLOS will be a gamechanger. I’m sure our user community will look forward to the use of UAV-based data as part of their toolkit within PLS-CADD™ suite for modeling both structure and wire locations.”