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Drones and Robots Offer Radical New Perspective on Oil and Gas Inspections

Thousands of meters below sea level, in the middle of scorching deserts, on remote offshore platforms, or deep underground – the oil and gas business operates in some very unforgiving environments. Inspections, though critical, often make for dull, dirty, and dangerous work. However, that’s being transformed by robotics, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics.

Advances in airborne and underwater drones, robotic crawlers, and digital sensors, combined with powerful cloud-based data analytics and artificial intelligence, offers dramatically improved methods for inspection across the oil and gas industry.

The benefits are significant:

  • up to a 25% decrease in facility inspection costs,
  • up to a 15% decrease in machine downtime,
  • as much as a 25% increase in turnaround intervals,
  • and increased safety for employees and contractors.

Imagine, for example, an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle that flies around your refinery during a planned inspection, capturing digital RGB and infrared images and video of your assets. Using advanced analytics models and automated defect recognition, the images are assessed and operators are alerted to possible issues regarding the health of the equipment.

Avitas Systems, a GE venture, offers a cloud-based platform that ingests inspection data from a wide variety of sources and sensors, fuses the data with regulatory and external sources, such as weather, and outputs advanced risk-based insights that are accessible 24/7 via an inspection portal.

Built on GE’s Predix, the world’s first operating system designed for industry, the solution provides a secure web-based inspection portal for customers that includes workflow management tools to inventory assets and inspection schedules. It also includes inspection reports and customized dashboards so that each user has the information they need to make smarter maintenance decisions.

Business: Digital, Energy, Global Research

Country: Middle East, North Africa, UAE

Keywords: Big Data, Drones, oil and gas