San Diego utility wins FAA OK to test drones

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Updated: 7/11/2014 10:46 pm

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego Gas & Electric says it will begin testing drone aircraft to help patrol for outages and wildfires in remote areas.

SDG&E announced Friday that it's become the first utility in the nation to win approval from Federal Aviation Administration to test drones and train flight crews.

The small drones can carry cameras that can provide live views of power and gas lines in hard-to-reach back country. The federal agency approved four small test areas in eastern San Diego County.

The utility says if the technology proves effective, it may seek FAA approval to use the unmanned aircraft more widely.

It says drones could prove useful for inspecting more than 26,000 miles of power lines.

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