Drones fly over Austin inspecting transmission lines

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane. It’s a drone flying over Austin.

On Thursday, several drones will take flight in North Austin to inspect transmission lines and equipment. Austin Energy and the IC² Institute have partnered up for a research project to identify areas where utility equipment has become worn or damaged.

The drones will test out image pattern recognition software near Research Boulevard, Burnet Road, and Knoll Park Drive. IC² is a Global Commercialization Group at the University of Texas, which works to create revolutionary technology working with a company in India. Their software will use an algorithm to locate areas in need of repair on transmission towers, lines and components.

Just because the drone’s are unmanned does not mean there isn’t a pilot. Skilled drone pilots will navigate their way through electromagnetic fields to keep the drones from losing their GPS in the air.

The new technology would give utility companies the ability to lower costs, increase safety and capture unique aerial images.

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