Strat Aero to use drones to inspect largest electricity provider in Kansas
Strat Aero, with a focus on the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sector, said the contract was its first wind inspection and data analysis contract utilising its UAVs and proprietary software.
As such, Strat Aero's board said it represented a significant milestone in its positioning as a full service UAV provider to the commercial and military sectors.
"This agreement follows an extended trialling process and signals a breakthrough for Strat Aero into a significant and potentially lucrative market," said Strat Aero CEO Tony Dunleavy.
"The scope and scale of the wind farm industry in the US is enormous, and we are delighted to have embarked on this journey with Westar Energy, a preeminent figure in the market, generating over 7,000 MW of electricity and serving nearly 700,000 customers in much of east and east-central Kansas," he added.
Under the terms of the deal, Strat Aero would initially inspect 53 turbines in two of five fields operated by Westar at a rate of six turbines per day.
The initial value of the contract was $26,000 (£18,205), but with a total of 312 turbines on site Strat Aero believed there was scope for the initial contract to be extended across the remaining fields, as well as other sites operated by Westar.
Strat Aero's board said it saw this initial deal as a proof-of-concept, and intended to use it as a springboard to secure additional contracts with Westar and other major operators in the US.
"This initial phase of our relationship, which will see the inspection of 53 turbines, has already commenced and once again, the efficiency and functionality of drones has been clearly demonstrated," Dunleavy said. ■