Sky-Futures, a drone inspections provider for the oil and gas industry, is funding a Dutch university’s project to develop technology that will allow unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to more accurately measure defects on structures.
TU Delft University of Technology – located in Delft, the Netherlands – is developing drone sensors and accompanying data processing and display software that can take measurements of hard-to-access infrastructure – e.g., offshore oil rigs.
Sky-Futures says its technology team – led by Adrian Karl, chief technology officer – uses software to automate the analysis of the data its drones gather, thus helping to identify potential problems in a rig and provide accurate corrosion forecasts.
However, under Sky-Futures’ operating procedures, UAS cannot currently fly close enough to structures such as offshore oil rigs in order to physically measure defects with sensory drone technology. Thus, the project aims to overcome this and allow the measurement of defects – such as cracks and corrosion – of structures over time from repeatable data gathered by drone. In turn, Sky-Futures says its oil and gas clients will be able to make more accurate condition forecasts.
“Developing sensors and software that can collect measurements from the structure itself in ways that humans could not before will change the way in which our clients’ assets are managed and revolutionize the way in which drones can improve inspections,” explains Karl.