So there is a company in China that’s using a fire breathing drone to clear trash tangled in power lines.
I am all for using drones in creative ways to solve problems. And there has been some very interesting use of drones lately:
But this has to be a first.
Instead of sending a human up in the air to clear plastic bags and other trash that gets caught hanging from high voltage wires, a company in Xiangyang, China is using drones instead.
Because, why not?
I guess I never realized this was such a problem. You don’t really see giant trash bags blowing around at 30 plus feet in the air and getting caught in power lines.
It’s just not that common.
Apparently though, it happens enough in China that someone thought of this incredibly impractical solution.
In the video below you can see an octocopter drone, equipped with a tank of fuel and a long tube, fly near a high voltage power wire.
The fire breathing drone then sends out what looks like a 10 foot stream of flames, which burns off whatever is stuck to the line.
Can you imagine what that planning meeting must have been like? In trying to come up with different solutions to this problem someone must have pitched something like this:
“Hey, why don’t we attach a flamethrower to a big drone and just burn the trash off?”
Wow…what a great idea!
It’s probably safer than an actual person getting up there and risking getting zapped. I certainly wouldn’t want that job.
I would definitely rather remotely shoot fire at my problems.
And there are a lot of remote locations where it would be very difficult to send a human, like over canyons, rivers, etc..
Also, there is no chance of electricity arcing from the line to the drone since it is airborne. Most injuries that happen when working with power lines occur when the current in the line finds a path to ground (the Earth).
It’s especially deadly when that path goes through a person.
Electricity, especially at high voltages, needs to find a path to ground in order to “discharge”. Since no part of the drone is in contact with the Earth, there’s no path for the current to flow. So, it stays in the power line.
Still, the thought of a remote control drone able to spew giant streams of fire just seems unsettling. Even if it looks pretty awesome. What if it suffered some malfunction and crashed to the ground in a giant ball of fire?
It’s okay though, the operators in the video are wearing hardhats. Yeah, that seems like adequate protection.
This newest application of drone technology certainly is the most unusual one that I have seen.
What do you think about the use of this fire breathing drone? Innovative idea? Or a bad day waiting to happen?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…feel free to leave a comment below.
Also, check out some of our other posts on the latest drone news. Or check out some of our product and review posts. Like this list of the best drones with a camera and gps.
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