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British Columbia Transmission Corporation (BCTC) operates high voltage transmission lines over mountainous terrain and remote locations, relying heavily on helicopters to maintain the system. This is inherently dangerous, expensive and has a negative impact on the company's Green House Gas emissions. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are already a proven asset for military operations globally and with some modifications can be deployed along electric transmission lines as platforms for various sensors and multi-spectral camera systems. This paper reviews some of the possible applications of UAS in BCTC for routine and emergency line inspections and discusses the required system features based on internal research and needs assessments. A high level review of public literature also introduces some commercially available UAS with varying capacity, sophistication and autonomy. As pointed out in this paper, feature standardization as well as collaboration with regulators is required if UAS are to achieve widespread civilian commercial use.
Date of Conference: 5-7 Oct. 2010