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The next time the power goes out in Pennsylvania, consumers may see drones on the scene to help bring the lights back on.
PPL Electric Utilities, based in Allentown, Pa., has secured permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use the slow-moving pilotless aircraft to inspect power lines during routine outages. Cameras on the drones transmit images back to technicians. The drones must be operated by licensed pilots and must stay within sight of a drone operator, according to a company news release.
The company has started using the drones, and held a demonstration for news media members recently in Elizabethtown, Pa. Company officials say that they are still determining the best use for the drones in the future.
PPL Electric Utilities is a subsidiary of PPL Corporation that provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in 29 counties in Pennsylvania. PPL Corporation is has been corporate supporter of the Da Vinci Science Center and its programs for nearly two decades.