Second Farley UAV flight paves way for further industry use of drone technology

Second Farley UAV flight paves way for further industry use of drone technology

An example of the spectacular footage generated using UAV technology. EPRI will use the footage from this Farley Unit 1 inspection to demonstrate comparisons of drone versus manual concrete visual inspection methods.

As a result of Southern Nuclear’s prior success using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) visited Plant Farley last quarter with vendors Charlotte UAV and HAZON Solutions to work with SNC employees to conduct a demo inspection of the Unit 1 containment building. This was the second such demo SNC has conducted at Farley; the first being in 2016.

SNC employees Scott Walden (Corporate Fleet Design – Civil and Seismic), Kayla King and Hillard Cooper (Site Engineering Programs), and Joyce Solomon (Innovation and Technology),  supported this effort, which used UAV technology to conduct a general visual concrete inspection.

“The purpose of this second UAV inspection was to work with different vendors with different equipment and cameras to assess the results,” explained Walden. “Following the inspection, EPRI reported out the results to the industry with recommendations on which equipment other facilities should use when conducting future inspections.”

The footage from the inspection will be used to demonstrate comparisons of drone versus manual concrete visual inspection methods. Additionally, the recorded data will be used to determine if the same measurements can be identified using different software.

“Ultimately, the hope is a product for future UAV concrete inspections to use this mapping with a software to track the data and show trends in what has changed,” said Walden.

Employees from SNC, EPRI and vendor companies Charlotte UAV and HAZON Solutions observe the latest UAV flight at Plant Farley.