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Global Investment in Drones for T&D Expected to Be $16.2 Billion from 2015 to 2024

March 9, 2016
Drone technologies can assist utility infrastructure maintenance efforts by determining where ground crews should be deployed

A recent report from Navigant Research examines the market for drone and robotics technologies for transmission and distribution (DRTD), providing an analysis of market issues and global forecasts for revenue, segmented by region and technology, through 2024.

While unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) continue to make headlines as they grow in popularity and increasingly show up in public airspace, the drive to establish commercial uses for the technology is proceeding at a rapid pace. Transmission and distribution (T&D) operators and utilities are beginning to examine how UAVs can reduce costs, improve safety, and increase response times across their systems. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, global investment in drones and robotics technologies for T&D systems is expected to total nearly $16.2 billion from 2015 to 2024.

“Working on high- and medium-voltage T&D systems is difficult, expensive, and highly dangerous; in fact, a lineworker is considered one of the 10 most dangerous occupations in the United States,” says James McCray, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “While the DRTD market is still at an early stage, there’s a strong motivation in allowing utilities and transmissions operators to preform inspections and maintenance without endangering crew members.”

The stability and reliability of T&D systems is an integral part of economic development and growth. As these systems become more interconnected across service territories, operational issues can easily cascade across borders, causing larger problems. Maintaining T&D systems is typically a utility’s number one priority, and DRTD technologies can assist in assessing areas to determine where crews should be deployed.

The report, Drones and Robotics for Utility Transmission and Distribution, analyzes the global market for DRTD solutions, with a focus on five categories: multi-rotor UAVs, fixed wing UAVs, ground and line robotics, integration and analytics solutions, and inspection services. The study also provides an analysis of the market issues, including drivers and barriers and regulatory factors, associated with DRTD solutions. Global market forecasts for revenue, segmented by technology and region, extend through 2024. The report also examines the key technologies related to UAVs and robotics, as well as the competitive landscape.

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