Transmission and distribution robots could have $13 billion market

The total market for all drones and robotics for electric transmission and distribution segments is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2026, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

The report examines the use of drones and robotics for electric transmission and distribution operations, which many utilities are looking into using as a way to conduct line inspections more cost effectively.

Drones and robotics technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way utilities interact with their T&D assets and collect critical data. As pilot programs continue to drive regulatory change, and as emerging technologies advance, Navigant forecasts exponential growth in the hardware, software, and services segments of the drones and robotics for transmission and distribution market.

“Navigant Research has identified three core drivers for change in utility operations: speed, savings, and safety,” says Michael Hartnack, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Robotics technology has the potential to deliver significant gains in all three of these areas, primarily via ground-based, line-suspended, and aerial (drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs) innovations.”

According to the report, utilities should continue to deploy pilot programs that demonstrate the benefits of drones and robotics technology, as every successful pilot program leads to the creation of many more. The prevalence of these programs is expected to help to overcome the regulatory barriers slowing the market and eventually drive growth.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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