THE OIL AND GAS SECTOR
Surveillance and monitoring of the 825,000 km of pipeline in Canada is a necessary and monumental task. Currently, pigs are used for internal inspection, while external inspection is conducted by helicopter as well as vehicle and foot patrols. This external inspection is costly, time-consuming and labour intensive. In addition, creating a coherent data set out of these disparate sources of information makes for an additional challenge for planning and implementing a cost-effective maintenance strategy.
Robotic aircraft, combined with the relevant sensor package and with data fusion designed as part of the system from the outset, provide an excellent alternative to traditional techniques. While reducing cost (a robotic aircraft uses 1/100th of fuel in comparison to using a helicopter), economical footprint (easy shipping and portability of equipment), and risk to life (along with OHS needs), robotic aircraft provide the best tool for inspections, mapping, and monitoring in the oil patch.