An Idaho company has just announced a new commercial use for drones.
Power Engineers, a Hailey firm with an office in Meridian, is now offering electrical utilities and other customers the use of unmanned aerial systems to take video and pictures and to gather data for making 3-D visualizations.
That will let Power show its customers and the public what a new project — such as a power line through a neighborhood or a new highway — might look like.
Three Power employees at the Meridian office earned certificates to operate drones commercially under Federal Aviation Administration rules, the company says.
They fly two kinds of drones: fixed-wing devices that can fly for up to 40 minutes collecting GIS data, aerial images and terrain models; and a rotorcraft that can carry high-resolution photo and video equipment, hovering in one place and flying with precision.
“Rotorcraft systems are rapidly proving to be a safe and cost effective way to gather data for our clients,” says Jason Pfaff, Power’s visualization services manager, in a news release. “Removing the pilot and crew from the vehicle reduces project risk, especially in situations where we need to be close to the ground or close to our subjects.”
Pfaff, GIS Department Manager Aaron Ames and GIS Analyst Andy Bartos earned the certificates.