Joint Research Project Tests UAS for Pipeline Inspections


EagleView Technology Corp. – a provider of aerial imagery, data analytics and GIS solutions – has announced an unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research project awarded to Pictometry, an EagleView company, by NYSEARCH/the Northeast Gas Association (NGA).

The project will bring together Pictometry and the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research (NUAIR) Alliance to focus on the feasibility of using UAS to improve the overall safety and speed of routine and emergency surveys and inspections of pipelines for gas utilities.

Under the contract, Pictometry will work with NYSEARCH and NUAIR to select potential flight areas and obtain the required authority for each research location by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through NUAIR.

Using UAS imaging gas pipeline infrastructure, the team will perform ongoing research experimentation in the approved areas. The UAS will feature high-resolution cameras and, potentially, methane-detection devices to enhance pipeline safety. The testing will include flight plan creation, protocol development and effective field implementation.

“The research program came from the interests of NYSEARCH member gas utilities to perform routine inspections and surveys of facilities from an aerial vantage point along with the ability for rapid response in the case of emergency situations,” says Joseph P. Mallia of NYSEARCH/NGA. “With an eye-in-the-sky perspective, we hope to obtain more information and see more so it is safer for our inspectors.”

The NUAIR Alliance is a New York-based coalition of more than 70 private and public entities and academic institutions working together to operate and oversee UAS test ranges in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan.

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