Intel and Cyberhawk use UAS to inspect gas terminal in Scotland



Intel and Cyberhawk have announced that they successfully inspected a gas terminal in St Fergus, Scotland using an Intel Falcon 8+ UAS.

The companies say that traditional inspections of this scale require facility shutdowns, which could take days to weeks to bring the plant offline and make accessible for workers. Once these plants are offline, the workers rely on harnesses and cable equipment to hang midair while manually collecting information on a structure, which can be both dangerous and time consuming.

Using UAS for this inspection, though, took workers out of harm’s way, and increased speed and accuracy in comparison to conventional methods of inspection. It was also financially beneficial to use UAS, as this technology saved $1 million to $5 million per day in potential production loss during the mission.

“The way we conduct inspections is changing,” says Anil Nanduri, vice president and general manager within Intel’s New Technology Group. “Drones make inspection workflows faster, cheaper and safer. The technology is mature enough to be adopted into the workflows of our customers.”

During this inspection, the Falcon 8+ UAS captured 1,100 images, translating to 12GB of data, over the course of one to two days. Typically, the collection of this amount of data would have taken a three-man team three days to achieve.

The analytics collected during this inspection can be used for asset maintenance, specifically for such things like pre-maintenance inspection, repair work, and resource planning, to name a few.

UAS are especially useful for the oil and gas industry. Intel says that its Falcon 8+ UAS is helpful because it delivers “reliable performance and best-in-class safety, especially critical when faced with challenging environments or dangerous situations.”

“Flying in Scotland, the devices have to withstand strong winds,” says Chris Fleming, Cyberhawk CEO. “The Intel Falcon is perfect for that because it has the highest wind tolerance and the best power-to-weight ratio of any platform on the market.”

​Fleming adds that UAS have had an impact in the inspection industry unlike anything else he's seen in the last two decades.

“In the last 20 years that I’ve worked in the inspection industry, drones are the biggest single change we’ve seen to-date,” Fleming says.