Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intel drones inspect Scottish gas terminal

Steve Rogerson
November 21, 2017



Intel helped aerial inspection and surveying company Cyberhawk use commercial drone technology to inspect a gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland. Inspection with the Intel Falcon 8+ system is said to have reduced employee risk, increased speed and accuracy, and saved $1m to $5m 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 mid-air 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, CEO of Scotland-based Cyberhawk.
 
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies allow for large and complex facilities to be inspected while in operation, capturing accurate and precise data to inform business decisions on asset maintenance. Drones are an important tool for the oil and gas industry, and the Falcon 8+ system delivers performance and safety, especially critical when faced with challenging environments or dangerous situations.
 
"Flying in Scotland, the devices have to withstand strong winds," Fleming said. "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 drone deployed for this mission captured 1100 images, translating to 12Gbyte of data, over one to two days. This would have typically taken a three-person team three days to achieve. These analytics can be used for asset maintenance including pre-maintenance inspection, repair work, resource planning and maintenance prioritisation.
 
"The way we conduct inspections is changing," said Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager within Intel's new-technology group. "Drones make inspection workflows faster, cheaper and safer. The technology is mature enough to be adopted into the workflows of our customers."
 
Texas-based Martin Instrument and German company Microdrones have released a professional aerial methane detector, the MDTector1000 CH4. The integrated aerial methane inspection package for the multi-rotor UAV was built for professionals responsible for methane gas infrastructure. 
 
"For our oil and gas customers, we are excited to now provide an all new payload, the MDTector," said Martin Instrument vice-president, Mike Minick. "The fully integrated aerial methane inspection package gives the end user everything they need at their fingertips to accurately and efficiently retrieve data, safer than ever before."