Drones in Hurricane Response: Florida Power and Light to Deploy Percepto’s Sparrow

drones in hurricane responseIsrael’s Percepto has scored a major win in Florida.  Florida Power and Light (FPL) will deploy Percepto’s Sparrow drones in hurricane response, after Percepto’s drone-in-a-box solution passed level 5 hurricane testing at the Florida International University Wall of Wind.  “The box can withstand winds of up to 150mph making it the most rugged AI drone-in-a-box on the market for all weather conditions,” says Percepto.

Florida suffers from severe weather seasons, and agencies throughout the state are utilizing drones in hurricane response.  FPL is one of the largest energy companies in the U.S.: last year’s Hurricane Dorian left 160,000 customers without power and cost the company $274 million in infrastructure damage.    Percepto’s automated systems will allow the company to assess damage after a storm and respond much more quickly – without putting workers at risk.

“As soon as the storm passes, we can have this up…inspecting our plant and knowing immediately what sort of damage we have so we’re able to get our power back on that much sooner… for a utility to be able to see our infrastructure in areas where we can’t get to safely; to quickly fly over it and understand what our conditions are…the safety of our crews is paramount.” Michael Dorr, lead pilot for Florida Power & Light’s Drone in a Box system.

Percepto Drone in a Box semi closedFPL plans to put a drone-in-a-box at every substation, transmission yard, plant and solar facility, according to Eric Schwartz, manager of FPL’s aerial intelligence response. “We can fly every single day and use image recognition to be able to identify a potential issue and reduce the number of outages to our customers,” he said.

“Percepto’s system is approved by the FAA for flights two miles Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLoS) and FPL’s waiver from the FAA enables the solution to cover the entire facility with regular, pre-programmed autonomous flights over the plant’s 11,000 acres,” explains the press release. “The Percepto Sparrow drones stay above 130 feet to avoid power poles and other obstructions. FPL has six drones  installed in five different locations. By the end of the year FPL will have two further sites using Percepto’s solution on the Treasure Coast, one in St. Lucie County and another in Vero Beach with a plan to deploy autonomous drones at all of its substations after that.”

 “Covid-19 has left critical sites such as power stations bereft of crucial staff, while hospitals and homes have become more vulnerable, isolated and dependent on their utility providers. For our customers, drones ensure minimal downtime despite  staff shortages and in the worst weather conditions” Dor Abuahsira, CEO of Percepto


Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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