A Chinese power company has found an interesting and certainly awesome-looking use for drones: a flamethrower-equipped UAV is being used to clean rubbish off power lines.
Just when you thought you’d seen the scariest possible modification of a multicopter, a Chinese power company releases a video that totally eclipses the weird flying contraptions of the recent past: they’ve equipped a drone with a flamethrower.
That’s right, they’ve equipped what appears to be a DJI S1000+ heavy-load multicopter known for being able to carry up to 11 kilograms of cargo with a makeshift flamethrower that spits a stream of fire with black smoke. It looks like something out of World War II — dangerous and far from “smart.”
But you’ll never guess why they made this thing. They use it to — drum roll — burn the debris out of power lines! It’s a flame-throwing janitor, essentially.
The stream of fire is used to clean rubbish off tall power cords. Shoes, plastic bags and other debris that gets caught on the cords not only looks bad, but can also cause power outages.
While we wouldn’t suggest burning power cables, because fire make metal degrade and eventually, well, burn, the workers on the video taken somewhere in Xiangyang, China, look totally confident about what they are doing.
Probably, they assume that accelerated degradation of power lines is not as bad as people dying every now and then as they clean up the wires the oldschool way — using a stick and a cherrypicker elevator device. According to statistics, the linemen who do that work are consistently ranked among those doing the most dangerous jobs in the world, due to both the height of their work environment and the high-voltage lines they deal with.
According to reports, this is not the first time a drone has been used in conjunction with a flamethrower. Back in 2015, a Nebraska-Lincoln University-developed drone was used to start controlled fires to clear 25 acres of grass for the Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska.
Or you can use a fire-spewing drone to cook turkey: