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Gas Terminal Through Drone Lens

November 21, 2017

Intel and Cyberhawk revealed the power of commercial drone technology to drive business transformation by successfully inspecting a gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland. Inspection with the Intel® Falcon™ 8+ system, instead of conventional methods, reduced employee risk, increased speed and accuracy, and saved $1 million to $5 million per day in potential production loss during the mission.

Malcolm Connolly (left) and Chris Fleming of Cyberhawk, an aerial inspection and surveying company, use an Intel Falcon 8+ system during the inspection of an operating gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland. Unmanned aerial vehicle systems reduce employee risk, increase speed and accuracy, and save money that would be lost during a potential production closure.

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.

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies allow for large and complex facilities to be inspected while in operation, capturing accurate and precise data to better inform business decisions on asset maintenance. Drones are an important tool for the oil and gas industry, and the Intel Falcon 8+ system delivers reliable performance and best-in-class 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 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. These analytics can be used for asset maintenance including pre-maintenance inspection, repair work, resource planning, maintenance prioritization and more.

“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.”

Commercial drones address a range of real-world concerns by providing safe, scalable access to hard-to-reach locations.

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