No Human Entry Needed in Sky-Futures’ Latest UAV Tank Inspection

Along with its technology partner Flyability, Sky-Futures has completed a trial inspection of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) cargo tank via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The Flyability drone was able to fly down into BW Offshore’s Athena FPSO tank and, using Sky-Futures’ inspection technique, accurately navigate the internal space and conduct both general visual inspections and close visual inspections. According to Sky-Futures, the operation marked the world’s first trial inspection of an FPSO cargo tank by drone without a human’s having to enter.

Steve Moir and Adrian Karl, engineering manager and chief technology officer of Sky-Futures, respectively, spent the last 12 months developing both an inspection procedure and software to collect high-quality, repeatable image data sets that allow clients to carry out confined-space inspections without having to leave their desk, explains Sky-Futures.

“Through our partnership with Flyability and close relationship with the vessel owner, we have spent thousands of hours developing and evolving the flying techniques, procedures, risk assessments, reporting tools and software – which gave us the confidence to take a credible and reliable product to market,” explains Moir.

According to the company, current confined-space inspection techniques require people to climb inside the tanks – a time-consuming and potentially dangerous process that can deliver lower-quality data sets.

The image and video data collected is delivered through the Sky-Futures cloud. A secure, Web-based application then allows clients to access data from anywhere in the world and compare the latest inspection data to that of previous inspections.

Sky-Futures has offices out of Houston; London; Aberdeen, Scotland; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The company recently became a preferred partner of Switzerland-based UAV manufacturer Flyability in the delivery of drone-based internal tank inspections for the global oil and gas market.


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