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  • Writer's pictureAZ NavTeq

Drones to Inspect Telecommunications Towers

Drones have become an integral part of our lives recently on both the professional and recreational levels. Now, they are being used to inspect telecommunications towers. The telecommunications industry is benefiting from drones in an effort to cut down on one of the most dangerous jobs out there; climbing towers.

Commercial drone usage has allowed the telecommunications industry to collect photos, video and other data about towers without risking injury or death. This safer method of collecting the data helps industry professional conduct an audit of the equipment and the wireless infrastructure with ease.

Cutting Costs

Aside from the safety advantages, telecommunications companies can also cut costs by using commercial drones to inspect towers. The companies no longer have to spend high dollar amounts on helicopters and small planes to inspect their towers. Drone usage also makes identifying the specifications of equipment and any damage to the towers much quicker than waiting for a helicopter or plane to get in the air.

Drone Solutions

Drone solutions are being offered by companies across the country to telecommunications providers. The drone solutions include more than just the drone flying around the towers to perform an inspection and collect date. Drone solutions also include the following:

+ Commercial operator software

+ Inspection planning based in the cloud

+ Vehicles with onboard sensors

+ Vehicles with autonomy

+ Analytics

+ Cloud data processing

+ Reporting

Drones vs Tower Climbers

Drones are the wave of the future, but they likely will not replace tower climbers completely, at least not in the near future. Companies are beginning to use drones sparingly, sending up tower climbers when necessary. It is possible that drones will help companies use tower climbers more efficiently in the future. Tower climbers will still be needed to make necessary repairs that are found by drones. Limiting their time spent on the towers can limit the risk of injury.

Storm Damage

Drones were recently used in North Carolina and South Carolina to inspect towers for damage following Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The drones were sent to inspect the towers because of severe flooding in areas of the two states where workers could not gain access. When storm damage was inspected, the drones recorded high-resolution photos of the damage as well as live stream high-definition video of the cell sites.

Find Birds’ Nests

Believe it or not, birds’ nests are a problem for telecommunications companies. Cell towers are the perfect place for birds to build nests because the only other predator that could bother the nests are birds. Telecom companies are also using commercial drones to find birds’ nests on their towers and their exact location. It’s better to send a drone up the tower and determine the nest is not doing any harm than sending a climber up to find the same information while risking injury.

If your company is interested in using commercial drones to inspect cell towers or other utility poles, contact us at


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