By Andy Sambidge
State utility says drones will provide early detection of problems, will help to monitor contractors
Dubai's state utility has launched an initiative to introduce the use of drones to drive efficiency across its infrastructure projects.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched the Sirb (Arabic for fleet) initiative at a DEWA 2021 strategy workshop.
Al Tayer said the drones will provide early detection of problems by using thermal imaging for overhead power lines, limiting risks and reducing costs, as well as enabling a quick response.
The drones will use upgradable technologies such as high-definition cameras that are equipped with night-vision, laser technologies and GPS sensors, and can measure pressure, height, magnetic fields, and carry out ultrasound scanning.
Drones can also be used to monitor contractors and employees while extending power cables, and detect and search for covered or invisible sub-stations.
The move supports the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to develop the drone industry in everyday life.
"The Sirb initiative is aligned to the directives of our wise leadership to harness different technologies. We have instructed everyone in DEWA to make plans to implement this initiative," said Al Tayer.
"This initiative will greatly improve our operational efficiency by accelerating operations, increasing safety during regular network testing and maintenance, and accurately detecting failures.
"It will also help in monitoring generation, in field surveys for new projects, and in new connections for buildings and facilities in Dubai. This will enhance the trust of our customers in DEWA's services and improve organisational competitiveness in terms of financial savings."
DEWA said it is also looking to expand the scope of its drone use and is experimenting with technology to detect overhead line insulator failures that can cause power outages.