The Impact of Data-driven, Automated Drones on the Oil and Gas Industry

The Impact of Data-driven, Automated Drones on the Oil and Gas Industry

The business impact and long-lasting benefits drones offer have put them on a clear path to becoming an industry standard. Automated drones have been tapped as one of the next game-changing innovations for the oil and gas industry, largely because of the substantial cost savings they offer. Additionally, drone technology has the potential to become the primary method for inspection and monitoring of a facility, as well as a rapid response and assessment tool for incidents, whether offshore or onshore.

When inspecting hard-to-reach areas, traditional methods usually involve shutting down operations, building scaffolding or setting rope lines and sending an inspector into a hazardous area with a camera. The logistics involved in these processes, the danger of putting personnel in harm’s way and the costly shutdown time required significantly impact the bottom line. Additionally, physical inspections of assets such as the top of tanks tend to be conducted manually, and maintenance decisions such as visual inspections, which are often made subjectively, can be affected by many factors including weather, lighting and time of day. The regularity of maintenance inspections to prevent and avoid leaks, explosions and other potentially fatal errors requires extensive readiness and preparedness by site managers, engineers and maintenance personnel.

Drones are becoming an integral tool on-site, replacing manual inspections in the most hazardous areas and collecting critical information while drastically reducing the time and manpower required. Drones serve as a unique, cost-effective and safe industry tool for data collection in hard-to-access areas, thus keeping humans out of harm’s way, as well as reducing overall asset downtime in upstream, midstream and downstream operations. For example, using a drone to collect visual data on the condition of an asset enables industry personnel to ensure proper maintenance of a facility’s assets and improves cost savings, safety and enhanced analytics.

How drones can benefit an oil and gas facility

  • Reduce Risk: Improve safety by gaining real-time aerial insights and remotely scanning and accessing areas without putting personnel in harm’s way
  • Advance Efficiency: Boost productivity by enabling agile teams to operate larger and more complex operations through access to near real-time aerial data and insights
  • Improve Productivity: Save time by enabling and fostering collaboration on up to date data achieved through short turnaround times
  • Enhance Asset Efficiency: Improve asset utilization and integrity by relying on data-driven decision making

With added automation capabilities, the operational advantages brought on by drones are further augmented with consistent and reliable data capture, download, processing, and collaboration. Airobotics’ automated drone system minimizes risk to drone pilots and reduces dependency on having them available on-site to manage flights while adhering to all local aviation regulations. As a result, the major safety benefit is the ability for continuous inspection, survey and mapping, and compliance management in industrial settings without exposing personnel to potential hazards in the work environment.

With Airobotics, everything on-site can now be monitored non-intrusively and safely, without disrupting site operations. Operations do not have to be halted, as personnel are not physically required to inspect and take critical asset measurements. The frequency of measurements and inspections can be significantly increased while human risks are minimized to the absolute lowest possible rate.

Capable of swapping and carrying various sensors, Airobotics’ automated drones provide a source of data and digital information. And as such, the multiplying possibilities of drone-enabled data can add value to almost any site.

As the world’s first and only regulatory-compliant commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) solution that can be operated remotely, Airobotics’ end-to-end automated drone platform is purpose-built to simplify drone operations and transform aerial insights into routine. Airobotics’ system has the unique capability to swap the drone’s batteries and payloads using a robotic arm, allowing for a diversity of payloads and mission types. The platform can automatically self-launch and land accurately, time after time.

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About the author: Eitan Rotberg, Senior Vice President of Product Management. Eitan serves as Airobotics’ Senior Vice President of Product Management and is a founding member of Airobotics. Previously, Eitan served as Airobotics’ Senior Vice President of Product R&D, Vice President of Product Management, Vice President of Regulations and General Manager Perth Australia and Vice President of Operations Israel. Before Airobotics, Eitan served as CEO of Bladeworx. He was also a Business Development and Project Manager at Yeadim LTC, Operations Manager at the Maavarim Group and a Drill and Blast Manager at the Geophysical Institute of Israel. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences and Management from the Open University of Israel.