Introduction to Drones & UAS for Utilities

Introduction to Drones & UAS for Utilities

September 15, 2020 | Online :: Central Time

This program is designed to provide utilities who are exploring the potential for utilizing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with a solid foundation about the capabilities and limitations of the technology.  The workshop will also provide you with the tools to adapt current processes to leverage this rapidly developing technology as well as identify when drones present a real opportunity for ROI. The program will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions, each with a specific focus. The morning session will present information about UAS hardware, regulations, use cases and specific considerations your operations will want to address when starting up a large utility drone project. The afternoon session will cover advanced UAS technologies such as autonomous UAS inspections, Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations, and software technology that can help organize and expedite the analysis of the huge quantities of data typically collected with remote sensing technology. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the current ecosystem for UAS hardware and command and control systems
  • Discuss which use cases currently provide the most ROI and how this may evolve in the future
  • Examine what types of payloads are available for drone operations and how these various sensor systems intersect with utility UAS program goals
  • Explore the FAA’s regulatory environment that both enables and restricts the use of drone technology
  • Describe best practices when starting up a large utility UAS program including managing contractors, creating program documentation, and issues around accessing private property and customer interactions
  • Explain the options available for securely transferring data from the field to the party responsible for processing the data
  • Look at software that can help extract value from the mountain of data that is usually produced by UAS remote sensing operations
  • Explore advanced flight Concepts of Operations (ConOps), particularly BVLOS and autonomous flight operations  
  • Discuss guidelines for evaluating current processes that likely will be adapted or replaced in the future
  • Adjust/reset current Utility expectations such as Defect Find Rate, data storage needs, etc.
  • Examine important new UAS initiatives such as Remote ID and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) 



EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.6 CEUs for this event.


Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log on each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course

Instructional Methods

Power Point presentations and open discussion will be used


Tuesday, September 15, 2020 – Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 am : Log On and Sound Check

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. :: Introduction to UAS Operations and Use Cases 

Overview of UAS aircraft types and sensor systems

9:30  – 10:00 a.m. :: The FAA and the UAS Regulatory Environment

  • Beyond line of sight approval
  • 14 CFR Part 107

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. :: Utility UAS Operations

  • Defining the project
  • Specifying deliverables
  • Creating program documentation
  • How do you keep track and communicate with a widely dispersed workforce?

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Structuring the Project Operations

  • How to set up project goals
  • Contractors – selecting qualified vendors
  • Customers
  • Project management
  • Safety – How can you structure compensation in order to incentivize productivity without compromising safety?

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Lunch Break

Data Processing and Advanced UAS Operations

1:00 – 1:30 p.m. :: Handling Project Data and Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) Considerations

  • Data ethics and privacy
  • Mandates for critical data

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. :: Data Processing 

  • Analysis of LiDAR data
  • Staffing the data center
  • Procedure and techniques

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. :: Software for Extracting Value from UAS Operations

  • Analysis of digital elevation models
  • Creation of autonomous inspection flight plans
  • Automated inspections

3:00  – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:15  – 4:00 p.m. :: Advanced UAS Operations – BVLOS and Autonomous Operations

  • Uploading and managing field data
  • Review of inspection assets
  • Creation of inspection reports

4:00  – 4:30 p.m. :: What the Future Holds for UAS Technology

  • What drones would be acceptable? 
  • What cameras?  Or is it a case of meeting a certain resolution requirement?

4:30  – 5:00 p.m. :: Lessons Learned and Program Review

  • Transmission structure inspection
  • Data analysis
  • Review an inspection report

5:00 p.m. :: Adjourn


Chris McMurtry, Solutions Architect, Sharper Shape

 In his role as the Solutions Architect for Sharper Shape, Inc., Chris McMurtry is focused on designing unmanned aerial solutions based around the company’s class leading “full-stack” hardware and software tools. Chris first became involved with drone technology for film and television production work, but he soon became convinced that unmanned aerial technology could do far more than just produce compelling entertainment content. This led to the creation of one of the first UAS services companies that specialized in using drone technology for utility inspections. Since 2013 Chris has been focused on finding the fit for UAS applications in the energy sector, with the goal of helping utilities transform their inspection and maintenance programs.

Paul Frey – Vice President of Sales, Sharper Shape

Paul has over 30 years of engineering and management experience in the utility industry. He started his career at Baltimore Gas & Electric as an intern while still in high school, and finished 34 years later as the Director of Distribution Automation. Just prior to joining Sharper Shape, Paul was the Senior Manager of Operations at the Edison Electric Institute where he set up the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Executive Task Force. While at EEI, he also helped establish the National Response Event framework and led the development of the RAMP-UP Tool, a national resource allocation tool for mutual assistance after storms. Paul has a M.S. in Engineering Administration from George Washington University and a BSEE and Computer Science degrees from Johns Hopkins University.

William Chung – VP of Business Development, Sharper Shape

Will joined Sharper Shape in 2019 to help utilities with their remote inspection processes and data asset management.  He leads the US business development and supports operations for existing US clients and projects.  Will has over 13 years of electric utility experience from Pacific Gas and Electric Company where he most recently worked on Aerial Inspections and the development of machine learning to augment the remote inspection process.  Prior to that, Will held various roles from Distributed Generation, Regulatory Compliance and Audits, Process Improvement, Business Operations, and Grid Innovation.  Will has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of California Berkeley. 

Wesley Pritchett – Program Manager, Sharper Shape

Wesley brings aviation and operational management experience to the Sharper Shape team. Wes served in the United States Military as an aviation maintenance officer and pilot for 8 years with multiple deployments. Following his time in the military, Wes has worked in both finance and the nonprofit world. Wes studied at the United States Military Academy at West Point and received his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.




Introduction to Drones & UAS for Utilities

September 15, 2020 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 795.00 each

Buy 4 in-person seats and only pay for 3! For this event every fourth in-person attendee is free!

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before August 14, 2020 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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