Not Droning On

Utility drones are anything but boring

Border States Electric of Fargo, N.D., announced an agency agreement with drone-maker eSmart Systems to provide the latter’s utility drone systems to customers in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. The two companies have been developing the technology for the utility and power generation industries for years.

eSmart’s Thundercloud is an end-to-end solution for infrastructure inspections, according to a Border States blog press release November 9. The network provides real-time monitoring of the grid, allowing operators access to detect faults and plan maintenance while reducing investments and costs related to outages. “The Connected Drone” uses artificial intelligence to catalog infrastructure components and monitor their health. The results are used to view infrastructure status and provide a basis for maintenance tasks. This, according to the two companies, can not only bring a significant safety component to the inspection of utility assets using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), or drones, but also allows for safe, efficient, reliable and intelligent grid operations.

Gerald “Poke” Buck, BSE’s senior vice president utility sales, said, “The Thundercloud, Connected Drone and Connected Grid solutions from eSmart Systems are just what our utility, gas and oil customers have been asking for. We are thrilled about our new relationship with eSmart Systems and the high-quality, end-to-end, complete solutions that we will be supplying to the utility and industrial markets.”

Knut E. Gustavsen, eSmart Systems’ corporate vice president and president North America, said “The partnership with BSE is an important milestone for eSmart Systems and our continued growth in the U.S. market. We are very excited to work with an industry leader such as BSE to further advance the applications of drones, big data analytics and intelligent asset management through our Thundercloud solution, to help utilities and their customers across the U.S. to lower costs and experience a more reliable service.”


  1. Drone Zone | Electrical Apparatus Magazine - July 26, 2018

    […] reported in November of 2017 that drones were being increasingly employed to the real-time monitoring of the smart grid, allowing operators access to detect faults and plan maintenance while reducing investments and […]

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