Monitoring Infrastructure Out of Sight

Monitoring critical infrastructure, particularly those in rural areas beyond line of sight, can be achieved much more efficiently and effectively through the use of unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology.

Recently, Rockwell Collins teamed with Black & Veatch and Ameren for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) UAS flight within a power line infrastructure.

Leveraging the expertise gained from participation in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Focus Area Pathfinder BNSF Railway program, the companies applied a similar safety case to show that Rockwell Collins’ CNPC-1000 Command and Control data link and webUAS operations management technology can be used in other industries with long linear operations, such as inspecting many miles of power lines.

For this flight, Black & Veatch was responsible for engineering, design, and procurement of the temporary network that enabled the CNPC-1000 radio connectivity. The company was also involved in a joint project management effort with Ameren to coordinate all the various parties involved in the test flights.

Designated the CNPC-1000, the Rockwell Collins data link conforms to the industry-developed performance standard for command and control submitted to the FAA by the RTCA Special Committee 228 for commercial UAS operations in the national airspace.

For this demonstration, the CNPC-1000 was adapted to support low altitude BVLOS operations in support of critical infrastructure monitoring to radio frequency spectrum beyond the frequencies cited by SC-228.

This collaboration has opened the door to other drone solutions for infrastructure construction and monitoring for the future.

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