Tech giant Intel and aerial inspection and surveying specialist Cyberhawk, have teamed up to provide an aerial surveillance solution for a limited-access gas facility in Scotland.
The companies successfully inspected a gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland with the Intel Falcon 8+ system in a bid to prove the capabilities of drones for commercial purposes.
It is estimated that the use of a UAV, instead of conventional methods, could reduce employee risk, increase speed and accuracy and save $1m (£760,000) to $5m (£3.8m) per day in potential production loss during the mission.
Traditional inspections of this scale require facility shutdowns, which could take days to weeks to bring the plant offline and make accessible for workers, who rely on harnesses and cable equipment to hang midair while manually collecting information on the structure.
“In the last 20 years that I’ve worked in the inspection industry, drones are the biggest single change we’ve seen to-date,” said Chris Fleming, Cyberhawk CEO.
“Flying in Scotland, the devices have to withstand strong winds. The Intel Falcon is perfect for that because it has the highest wind tolerance and the best power-to-weight ratio of any platform on the market.”
The Intel Falcon 8+ drone deployed for this mission captured 1,100 images, translating to 12GB of data, over the span of one to two days. This would have typically taken a three-man team three days to achieve.