Sempra Energy

Sempra Energy gets FAA approval to test drones for San Diego utility

The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared San Diego company Sempra Energy to begin testing drones for possible use in inspecting electric and gas lines in remote or hard to reach areas.

Sempra's San Diego Gas & Electric is the first utility the federal government has authorized to use the unmanned aircraft technology, the company said Friday in a statement. Sempra plans to test the drones — small remotely controlled helicopters — in an unpopulated area of eastern San Diego County. If successful, the utility hopes to use them for locating the causes of power failures.

The aircraft, known as a quadcopter, is made by Massachusetts company Physical Sciences Inc. and...

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