The team had learned that flight regulations for drones are toughest in suburban and urban areas,
which are densely populated. However, in rural areas, if an owner of a privately held asset gives
a company permission to inspect assets with drones, the flight regulations are far less strict.
Electricity in rural areas is usually provided by member-owned electric co-ops, which are
required to inspect their system on 5-8 year cycles in order to ensure reliability. The problem
is that asset inspection is an expensive, labor-intensive effort that takes a lot of time and
can be dangerous. On paper, drones are a great solution to these problems. But rural co-ops don't
have the money or personnel to develop in-house drone capabilities and the existing drone asset
inspection startups at the time were not able to deliver a solution tailored to the utilities'