In the wake of hurricane Irma, T-Mobile was prepared to immediately assess and restore the probable structural and equipment damage to their network in Florida and along the Georgia coast. In T-Mobile’s first real test of using drone technology in their emergency response efforts, they turned to Talon who had drone teams on standby, trained and ready to deploy. The response proved to be invaluable for assessing damage and prioritizing site maintenance in order to restore network service to their customers.
T-Mobile worked exclusively with Talon who sourced the professional pilots and all commercial drone equipment. Working in the harshest conditions, Talon managed to capture and deliver network data so it could be assessed by T-Mobile engineers immediately. With 25 Talon drone teams, Talon was able to assess over 200 towers and capture 3 terabytes of data for T-Mobile.
There are many challenges that go into drone mission planning for such a large area of destruction. While coordinating with the FAA, Talon coordinated airspace waivers and flight authorizations that allowed the teams to survey the damage and quickly restore service to customers.
One of the keys to success was having T-Mobile engineers and network operation employees working side-by-side Talon’s professional drone pilots. Talon was able to provide antenna tilt, plumb, and azimuth measurements from the drone data capture allowing T-Mobile engineers to see which antennas were out of alignment and prioritize repair and maintenance.
Using drones not only saved time, but provided a better, faster and safer way to inspect the network. The hurricane's impact made for unique conditions including, impassable roads, downed electrical lines and flood zones, making the recovery efforts very challenging. The deployment of our drone teams to inspect the structures was 4 times faster than deploying tower climbers to assess the aerial damage.
Based in West Point, GA, Talon Aerolytics has captured over 10,000 towers and documented over 123,000 incident free flight hours. As a nationwide provider of commercial services, we also support a broad array of data capture and analysis services that include site inspections, site acquisition, scoping, mount mapping, structural analysis and line of sight analysis.