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Drone Fly Over Mayville in Response to Simulated Natural Disaster
Post Date: Jun 01 2017

By Valley News Live
You may see drones flying over Mayville today, but it is just a drill.

Xcel Energy and its partners are conducting unmanned aircraft systems flights over Mayville on Wednesday in response to a simulated natural disaster.

They’re using the flights to study ways UAS, or drones, can aid in disaster response. The test flight was also live-streamed to attendees of the Drone Focus Conference in Fargo.

“We’re excited to perform these test flights to collect important data to demonstrate the drones’ capabilities and the value this technology brings to North Dakota,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-North Dakota. “This collaboration between public and private partners will benefit the state, the economy, our customers and workers, and the environment for years to come.”

“Xcel Energy’s test flights are an example of the important work North Dakota’s UAS industry is doing to develop new applications for this technology,” said Sen. John Hoeven. “Efforts like this dovetail with the work at our UAS test site and Grand Sky, and strengthen our state’s position as a UAS leader. By pioneering the use of UAS in our energy industry, Xcel Energy is helping advance the integration of UAS into our national airspace. Doing so will bring tremendous economic benefits and good jobs for our citizens.”

During recent test flights, a Hermes® 450 and two smaller drones flew over Mayville to help Xcel Energy and partners explore new ways to quickly restore power, limit disruptions and potentially reduce costs to customers and communities following natural disasters.

Officials say one of the challenges in responding to a natural disaster is reaching and inspecting damage in hard hit areas. Drones can send information back to a control center to be analyzed immediately to help reduce outage time, save money, and keep employees safe.

The test flights are part of a public-private partnership created in 2016 through a $500,000 grant from the state of North Dakota. Xcel Energy, the University of North Dakota, Elbit Systems of America, General Electric, Northern Plains UAS Test Site, and SkySkopes provided $500,000 in matching funds to help position the state as a national leader in drone technology and research.

Drones Fly Over Mayville in Response to Simulated Natural Disaster - Valley News Live
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