DEWA has started using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to check on the photovoltaic (PV) panels on its Sustainable Building in Al Quoz.
UAVs save considerable time and effort as they completely scan the building’s roof, which has an approximate area of 100,000 square feet, in less than 5 minutes and provide Ultra HD (4K) images with a resolution of over 20 megapixels.
The Sustainable Building’s rooftop hosts photovoltaic panels that produce 600 kW of electricity. DEWA uses drones to monitor the cleaning activities by contractors, which are essential for the panels to function properly in a desert environment. Dust and pollution block sunlight, reducing the efficiency of the panels. That’s why, it’s important to clean them regularly.
Drones are also used to inspect the water cooling process in evaporators, enabling DEWA to operate without fully shutting them down for maintenance. DEWA also uses drones to regularly review its projects and obtain progress reports by taking panoramic pictures.
DEWA adheres to the highest safety and security standards by outfitting drones with sensors and anti-magnetic field paint to neutralise their effects on users and on DEWA’s assets.
“We have launched the Sirb initiative to support the National Innovation Strategy, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world within seven years. This will contribute to providing easier and more user-friendly services according to the highest international standards to achieve the happiness of all society,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA.
“DEWA supports of the directives of our wise leadership to harness science and technology to serve all society. That’s why, we have instructed all DEWA’s business sectors and departments to make plans to implement the Sirb initiative,” added Al Tayer.
“This initiative will greatly improve operational efficiency by accelerating operations, increasing safety during regular network testing and maintenance, and accurately detecting failures. It will also help in monitoring generation, in field surveys for new projects, and in new connections for buildings and facilities in Dubai. This will enhance the trust of customers in DEWA’s services and improve organisational competitiveness in terms of financial savings. The drones provide early detection by using thermal imaging for overhead power lines. This limits risks and reduces costs, enables a quick response and is very accurate, making it easier to make informed decisions. The drones use state-of-the-art upgradable technologies such as high-definition cameras that are equipped with night-vision and laser technologies, GPS sensors, and can measure pressure, height, magnetic fields, and use ultrasound scanning,” concluded Al Tayer.
DEWA is also looking into expanding the scope of its drone use. In addition to locating equipment, DEWA is experimenting with technology to detect overhead line insulator failures that can cause power outages.
DEWA launched its Sirb (Arabic for fleet) initiative to use drone technology for internal services and to support Dubai’s infrastructure, and aid smart technologies in serving Dubai’s residents. The move supports the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and achieves the UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021 to make Dubai a smart, integrated, and connected city. It also establishes Dubai’s position as a global hub for innovation and creativity and make it the happiest city on earth, which provides the most efficient and seamless experience and is the safest place for residents and visitors.
In a pioneering and creative step to enhance government services using state-of-the-art, high-tech tools, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the UAE Drones for Good Award at the second Government Summit 20014.
The UAE Drones for Good Award employs UAV technology to improve people’s lives in the UAE and around the world. It seeks to develop a regulatory framework that leverages advanced technologies, such as drones, in areas that benefit all humanity.
The initiative coincided with DEWA adding Innovation to its strategic vision. DEWA’s new vision is to become a sustainable innovative world-class utility. DEWA adopts a comprehensive strategy to implement creative ideas and suggestions to significantly improve government services and deliver seamless and easy-to-use services, according to the highest international standards, to contribute to the happiness of citizens, residents, and all stakeholders.