Austin Energy is notifying residents and motorists that drones will be inspecting transmission lines and equipment in North Austin on Thursday.

The city said Austin Energy and the IC2 Institute will be conducting “a research project to test image pattern recognition software to detect worn and damaged equipment.” Drones may be seen inspecting transmission lines Thursday near Research Boulevard, Burnet Road and Knoll Park Drive.

The IC2 Institute Global Commercialization Group at the University of Texas at Austin is working with an Indian company that has developed an application that can “rapidly identify defects through image pattern recognition and apply that capability to inspecting transmission towers, lines and components,” the city said. The images taken by drones are compared to images of new equipment, with the algorithm identifying damaged tower components, hot spots and coronas without human intervention.

The city added the drones being used by the group are experienced commercial drone pilots licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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