A flame-spurting drone is seen during a demonstration in Chongqing, southwest China, Jan. 16, 2019. The drone was developed by Chongqing's Yongchuan company of the State Grid corporation to help clear harmful obstacles hanging on overhead wires. (Xinhua/Liu Chan)
CHONGQING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Villages in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality recently noticed a black drone wheeling in the sky. There is no need to worry, however. It is not the military. It was sent to clean garbage hanging on power lines.
The drone is operated by a technician of a local power company in Xiaokan Village in Yongchuan District. By shooting fire toward garbage stuck on power lines, especially high-voltage wires, the drone can clean the waste on the wires, eliminating the need for workers to take part in the dangerous work.
"We used to clean waste on the wires by initiating a temporary power outage and using a crane or climbing the pole to get the debris, which was a long and complicated process," said He Tao, the technician from the power company.
"However, the drone is able to solve the problem safely without the need for an outage," he added.
The drone is equipped with a fuel tank, oil pump, automatic ignition device and a flamethrower.
"For ordinary plastic bags or kites, it only takes around 10 seconds to eliminate the waste. But for canvas, banners or tree branches, it could take up to 30 seconds. Burning off a honeycomb will take the longest -- around 10 min," He said, adding that the wires will not be damaged due to precise operation of the drone.
The company has set strict standards for the drone's spewing methods and hours of operation. More than 50 floating garbage-cleaning operations on power cables were conducted during a test period last year.