SeekOps, Straight Up Imaging Join Forces for Drone-Based Methane Detection


SeekOps Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based start-up, has launched a new service for gas-emissions inspections using a miniature gas sensor on a drone platform.

The company says it commercialized technology that co-founders Dr. Andrew Aubrey and Brendan Smith developed while at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). SeekOps uses proprietary gas sensors on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to detect methane, the primary component of natural gas.

According to SeekOps, the drone deployment provides increased efficiency compared with current leak-detection operations, which are traditionally carried out by vehicle or on foot by using large instrumentation. Additionally, the enhanced sensitivity of the technology reduces false positives and provides accurate methane concentration, the company adds.

SeekOps was tasked to identify a drone platform with performance that could match the sensor technology. The team then reached out to Terry Parisher, CEO of San Diego-based Straight Up Imaging (SUI), a manufacturer of an industrial-grade UAS platform, the SUI Endurance.

“Having known Terry since 2012, I had high expectations for what his team had produced with regards to their enterprise system,” says Aubrey. “Our first requirement was flight time exceeding 35 minutes with the SeekOps payload – a goal consistently met during rigorous field operations while deployed to the Bakken Shale oilfield. The SUI Endurance continues to meet SeekOps’ high standards through inspection operations for multiple energy industry customers.”

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