Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Start-up drones inspect pipelines for oil and gas industry

Steve Rogerson
April 12, 2017



Canadian start-up SkyX has developed unmanned aerial vehicles to service the oil and gas industry.
 
Based in Toronto, the company last week announced its public launch as it prepares to secure its round A financing. It was founded by Didi Horn, a former captain in the Israeli Air Force and a drone pilot.
 
Developed to inspect pipelines for damage, as well as for mapping and security surveillance, the SkyOne drones offer vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), as well as autonomous flight and recharging. The drones can travel at 150km per hour for 70 minutes and can detect leaks, vandalism, vegetation encroachment and more.
 
The oil and gas sector currently relies heavily on road vehicles and manned aircraft such as helicopters to detect any damage or threat. Both methods are more expensive, and less efficient than drones. SkyOne allows for round-the-clock, unlimited data collection, provided in real time and offers a wider scope of information for the user.
 
Offered on a service-leasing model, they allow oil and gas companies to access custom data and information without being burdened by maintenance. The company can control either an individual UAV or an entire fleet and can monitor events through real-time video.
 
And the drones can recharge themselves in the field. Through proprietary technology, a drone doesn’t need to return to home base to recharge. Instead, it flies to the nearest available xStation, where it recharges in a weather-shielded dome before continuing its mission.
 
Pipeline leaks are a massive global concern. Statistics suggest that globally the market spends $37bn a year just in monitoring. With one patent filed in North America and a couple more on the way, and more than ten million kilometres of oil and gas pipelines worldwide, SkyX believes the market and growth potential is huge.
 
“We have built not only a fantastic, game-changing product for the oil and gas industry, but have also built a fantastic team of experts ready to get it out there,” said Horn. “The market is, obviously, of huge global importance. We know that our technology can significantly cut costs and improve efficiency, helping the sector as a whole, along with each and every customer. Our unique solution, which combines both VTOL flight and autonomous remote charging, puts us well ahead of the competition. As a result, we are en route for significant expansion, offering an unprecedented opportunity for a strategic investment partner to help us conquer and secure significant market share in an ever-growing industry.”