Philly-based company lends an eye in the sky for Florence recovery crews

Drones linked to an app give utility crews critical information to restore power

Ian Bush
September 19, 2018 - 12:14 pm
Drone photos of local flooding in North Carolina.

John Meore & Tariq Zehari/The Journal News via USA TODAY NETWORK

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — To begin the recovery from Florence, some utility crews in the Carolinas are looking to the sky — where a Philadelphia company is going to work. 

Drones have been buzzing overhead in search of storm damage. The bird's-eye photos are analyzed using artificial intelligence designed by Aerial Applications

"We're looking for flooded roads, downed power lines, downed trees," said Aerial Applications co-founder Jeff Brooks.

Brooks said their system puts information on an app for crews restoring critical power and telecommunications.

"If they have power lines or towers, those are all preloaded into our app," he explained. "It'll show all the damage on that map around their assets. What it lets them do is prioritize their work in a way that they couldn't do before."

Following Florence, Aerial Applications has more than 40 drone pilots on site.

"We're able to help utility companies respond in half the time in a disaster situation," Brooks added.