Drones are a fun toy that have grown in popularity over the past few years. But they have also taken on a practical role, serving very beneficial for companies in many industries. Recently drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles, have become increasingly prominent in the pipeline industry.
Drones Assist With Pipeline Inspection
Companies have found that there is an incredible amount of value in using drones for pipeline inspection. Those within the oil and gas industry that have begun using drones have realized that the flying machines can reduce time, labor, and resources, which has allowed companies to cut costs and increase efficiency.
However, drones provide a practical benefit that goes far beyond the bottom line. Companies utilizing drones have found that their pipeline inspection data is more precise and accurate. Drones can also be beneficial because of the length that pipelines typically run. Typical commercial aircrafts that have been used by the industry in the past are now viewed as limited in the amount of data that they offer.
Christopher Maier, the head pilot for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at ULC Robotics, recently discussed why drones are growing in prominence within the industry. Maier indicated that companies are embracing the technology that UAVs offer, and have graduated from previous beliefs that they were merely a fad.
Maier stressed how important the provided data sets are. He indicated that UAVs could be used to identify corrosion or other types of damage. They can also be used to monitor pipelines and detect any emergencies like leaks. With revolutionary technology, drones can be used to detect a problem as soon as it begins, which can help resolve an issue before it grows into a crisis.
Drones have also been used to monitor the effects of erosion, tracking changes in land and vegetation over time. Those that do not install submar articulated concrete mats must consider using a drove to prevent future erosion issues.
ULC Robotics is a company that is heavily involved with drone technology, focused on using state-of-the-art tools that can be used for commercial aerial inspection. They have worked with the oil and gas industry for over two decades. The company recently made a huge advancement that will prove beneficial as drones become more common within the oil and gas pipeline industry.
ULC successfully completed a test flight of a fixed-winged UAV that utilized a vertical take-off and landing. The company had designed this drove specifically for use in the electric and gas industries, serving as a tool to meet the inspection needs of these industries. The UAV, which was built from the ground up, has a 10-foot wingspan. It also features a 10-pound payload capacity that will allow companies to conduct fully autonomous aerial assessments, such as pipeline inspections.
The company has plans to continue developing their UAV and hope to integrate sensor and monitoring payloads into its platform. The drone already contains high-resolution imaging systems and radiometric thermal cameras. Eventually, ULC hopes to include gas leak detection sensors on the machine.