Drone-powered solutions have been the go-to solution for most industries, transforming their businesses with Safer, Faster, Cheaper, and more efficient and effective solutions to their pain points. Now, what if we add ‘Autonomy’ to the mix? That’s DJI Dock for you! The first-ever Drone-in-a-box solution from DJI – the DJI Dock is on a mission to transform various organisations across the globe, with the ‘Power and Utilities’ sector being the major beneficiary. Let’s dive deep into the Autonomous Drone Operations powered by DJI Dock specifically for the Power and Utilities sector!
Right from the planning stage, a great deal of exertion, time, money, human resources, and significantly more goes into every stage in the Power and Utilities sector. Moreover, the Power and Utilities sector is undergoing radical transformation due to technological advancements. As a result, there has been a lot of pressure on the sector to adopt innovative solutions to cope with the rise in consumer expectations — and the latest innovation being— the DJI Dock.
Applications of Drone solutions in the Power and Utilities sector include Wind Turbine Inspection, Powerline Inspection, Solar Inspection, and Telecom Tower Inspection – to name a few. Traditional inspection methods are being phased out in favour of Drone-powered inspections. By cutting down time and resources required for asset inspections, Drones have been extremely advantages to the Power and Utilities sector — The white paper – ‘The Case For Drones In Energy’ – published by Measure, talks about how a reputed energy firm realised a 95% ROI for drone inspections on wind farms. Similarly, a drone-powered solar farm inspection costs 46% less than a manual inspection. Now let’s look into how autonomous operations, particularly, are an even more cost-effective and efficient solution.
A drone-in-a-box is a fully autonomous system where the drone is housed in a protective box designed to provide shelter for the drone when not in use. Likewise, the box is a charging station and a launch/landing pad. DJI Dock has made “pilotless” drone operations a reality by eliminating the need for frequent site visits, with pre-scheduled/on-demand deployment and remotely accessible data – making operations more efficient, less expensive, and, more sustainable!
The drone takes off, follows a programmed path, and returns to its box without human interference. With its ability to autonomously launch, recharge, capture live data and transmit data back to HQ — this Drone-in-a-box solution takes drone technology to the next level and is particularly useful for business operations requiring frequent and routine data capture of large areas, like the Solar Energy sector.
Drones can be beneficial in every stage of a Solar Plant’s life cycle, but introducing autonomy into the equation instantly elevates the entire operation. Remove the need for a pilot on the field, and eliminate the set-up and deployment time; with one simple move, you’ve doubled the efficiency and speed – All that is now possible through the DJI’s drone-in-a-box solution, the DJI Dock.
We get it — as business entities, we’re trained to look at numbers, costs and the all-powerful ROI. DJI Dock is indeed an invaluable investment. Let us explain — suppose have a 100MW solar plant and would like to ensure the competency of your Solar Panels.Scenario 1: Traditional Inspection
You could go with the Traditional Inspection methods, where, on average, it could take two inspectors around five hours to manually inspect 1MW worth of panels. So you can imagine how much time it would take to inspect a 100MW Solar Plant. And, the industry-standard frequency of inspections is at least twice a year. The estimated cost can go up to 120k USD per year, which can cost you even more, depending on the on-site conditions.Scenario 2: DJI Dock
If you are to go with Dock-powered solar panel inspection — DJI Dock hardware and deployment, plus operations & analysis software, would only cost you around 45k USD — resulting in increased efficiency, accuracy, safety, speed and much more! Moreover, DJI Dock can inspect the solar power plants as frequently as you like, increasing the production efficiency of your facility which reduces the energy tariff.
Furthermore, this proactive step translates to regular and timely feedback on the status of the solar PV system, enabling preventive maintenance. Also, drone data may be combined with other weather forecasts, energy demand forecasts, and so on to enhance the entire energy management system.
Here is an example of how the Dock’s ability to resist adverse weather conditions came in handy — Recently, the National Grid Powerline crew of Jilin city in north eastern China deployed DJI Dock to restore the power supply after a heavy snowstorm. It was not as easy as it appears. The powerline inspection crews traditionally performed this duty, but due to adverse weather conditions in the area, the decision to switch to drone operations was made.
With a six-month winter and temperatures dropping to -20 degrees Celsius, the personnel were at high risk of frostbite and snow blindness which also hampered their activities’ effectiveness.
But the implementation of DJI Dock changed and transformed the operation — 60 km away from the Dock, sitting in a monitor room of the Operations and Maintenance Centre, the operators could select a dock device and immediately conduct powerline inspections. Allowing for effortless powerline monitoring, regardless of harsh weather conditions.