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Discrete and Process Automation

Watch: Intel Drone Used to Map Hydrocarbon Plants to Analyze Efficiency

08 March 2018

Airscope, an inspections and asset visualization company from Australia, has used Intel drones to help manage oil and gas facilities. Information gathered from drones helps these facilities increase safety, saving time and reducing costs from surveys. The company used the Intel® Falcon™ 8+ drone to analyze the areas and then develop computer-generated 3D models of the entire hydrocarbon processing facilities in the North West Shelf of Australia. Mapping allows for very effective asset management.

The Intel Falcon 8+ (Source: Intel)The Intel Falcon 8+ (Source: Intel)

“When people think of drones operating in industrial applications, they think of inspections collecting data from hard-to-reach places,” Chris Leslie, Airscope director said. “Our business has evolved beyond this where the real efficiencies and return on investment for the client come from providing a digital 3-D representation of their physical assets. We made the transition to asset visualization because UAV inspection only gave clients a fraction of the story; without context, the full potential of images captured cannot be realized. So now we create a virtual canvas of the entire site using airborne photogrammetry, ground photogrammetry and laser scanning. Once the virtual canvas is created, you can paint any operational or planning data on it, to serve as a human medium to access and interact with big data."

“You could compare this technology to how our lives have changed with innovations such as the smartphone – the time savings and benefits are hard to quantify,” Leslie added. “The benefits are multiplied when looking at clients managing large-scale resource sites due to the number of employees and the potential cost to the business if decisions are made based on the inaccurate or incomplete information. Early indications by clients currently implementing asset digitization into their operations suggest day-to-day cost reductions of between 3.6 and 10 percent dependent on industry, and capital works projects being reduced by more than 20 percent. We are entering a period where decisions are being determined by the data at hand and companies that haven’t started their transformation towards digitization will be left behind.”

Airscope teamed up with Intel and Position Partners, a local Australian distributor, created and delivered 3D models of Santos, an operated facility in Australia's Cooper Basin. Santos wanted Airscope to provide large-scale virtual models and inspection services of critical assets. Airscope used the drones and 3D models to do just that.

The Intel Falcon 8+ was chosen as the drone for this task because Airscope could pre-program the drone’s flights and capture hundreds of aerial images during flight. After the drone gathered the images, the images were put together and created a holistic 3D model with the photogrammetry process. Airscope used laser scanning data during photogrammetry to create accurate models that can be used by the company in infrastructure projects.

“The quality and quantity of data we’re able to access from the Intel Falcon 8+ drone just wouldn’t be possible with any other method or technology,” Leslie said. “Moreover, our clients can see every asset from every angle and perspective, providing better situational awareness, insight and increased accuracy for making big decisions.”

To read more about the Intel Falcon 8+ drone, visit the site here.

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