I don’t think I have to explain the problem with oil leaks from pipelines, but fewer people know about the problem of methane (aka “natural gas”) leaks. Not only is loose methane in the atmosphere bad for people and animals who breathe it in, but it’s also a much more potent greenhouse gas compared to CO2. So, it’s vitally important that we keep that stuff in the pipes or in the ground.
While the ideal answer would be to just stop drilling and putting it in pipes that could leak, we’re not there yet, and won’t be there very fast. The critical task for climate change and human health right now is replacing dirty coal power with renewables, which gives us the most environmental bang for our bucks. After that, we can focus on the next worst thing (fuel oil), and then the next worst thing, which is the gas. Shutting down gas right now would leave people without electricity and heat in their homes, or force us to replace that energy with coal, which is a step in the wrong direction.
So, while we’re working toward the goal of replacing methane energy with renewables, we need to minimize harms as much as possible. That’s where Ondas Networks and American Robotics have a neat solution.
They announced recently that they now new capabilities for their autonomous Scout System drone that enables current and future oil and gas customers to automate visual inspection of oil and gas facilities and assets. Their new sensors will allow oil and gas companies to spot leaks much faster and get them solved before they emit too much methane. Perhaps more importantly, their sensors will allow drone operators to spot signs of trouble that could lead to leaking and prevent leaks altogether.
“The addition of these new features to the Scout System expands American Robotics’ competitive differentiation within the autonomous drone-in-a-box (DIB) market,” said Reese Mozer, co-founder and CEO of American Robotics. “Our oil and gas customers have worked closely with us to identify new features that allow them to transform operations, reduce costs, and increase safety by automating inspections so human operators do not have to be present on-site. This exciting advancement is an example of how American Robotics continues to grow its market-leading presence in the oil and gas sector.”
American Robotics’ automated, FAA-approved Scout System, which includes purpose-built capabilities for the oil and gas sector, allows oil and gas customers to perform frequent inspections of assets like pumpjacks, heater treaters, tanks, flare stacks, pipes, pumps, and electrical infrastructure, while also increasing profitability by lowering operating expenses.
Automated inspections using sophisticated imaging and artificial intelligence to identify critical infrastructure concerns will help safeguard the environment while also speeding up the digitization of physical assets through the use of imaging and AI.
There are close to 900,000 oil and gas well pads in the United States, and over 500,000 miles of pipeline that will need regular monitoring. According to American Robotics, the drone-in-a-box (DIB) market in the oil and gas sector is worth $22 billion worldwide. Today’s news has further demonstrated American Robotics ‘ leadership position in this rapidly growing market. American Robotics’ benefit from autonomous capabilities and market expansion will allow it to expand its revenue. The company’s competitive advantage in the commercial drone sector can be enhanced by combining oil and gas-specific skills with its FAA approval for fully-automated operations beyond visual line of sight.
American Robotics will begin selling the high-resolution RGB camera and high-resolution thermal camera to customers via the Scout System in Q3 2022. You can learn more about the system here.
Probably the best thing about this system is that it doesn’t require fossil fuels to operate. All of this can happen using clean electric power.
Featured image provided by Ondas Holdings/American Robotics.
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