The New York Power Authority is looking to use drones instead of helicopters or boats to inspect the ice boom between Lake Erie and the Niagara River.
The agency recently partnered with a Canadian utility for a test run of a drone inspection of the boom. The inspections are needed to identify any damage so repairs can be expedited.
The Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom is a series of floating steel pontoons connected by steel cables. It is installed each winter to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River that can cause ice build-up at hydroelectric water intakes.
The Power Authority also has been assessing the capability of different drones for power line inspections as an alternative to helicopters and having inspectors climb towers.