SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s state-run utilities companies will expand the use of drones in checking power stations and other facilities to improve efficiency and safety, the energy ministry said Friday.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced the plan in a meeting of drone developers, state utility firms and research institutes to expand use of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the energy sector.
The Korea Power Electric Corp., which has been using 37 drones for system maintenance since May 2016, said it plans to acquire 30 more to deploy them to all power substations and electricity distribution centers beginning in 2019.
The Korea South-East Power Corp., a KEPCO subsidiary, also plans to have over 20 UAVs by 2019 to check its coal depositories, in addition to the current four.
The Korea Gas Safety Corp., which currently runs a test program with three drones, said it will seek ways to use the machines to check gas pipelines attached to bridges and film sites of gas leaks.
The ministry said it will put concerted efforts with drone developers and energy companies toward developing a more efficient maintenance system as part of its effort to improve the emerging industry.