Pipeline inspection drone developed for oil and gas industry

By Patrick C. Miller | April 13, 2017

A new Canadian aerospace company has developed an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) specifically targeted for the oil and gas industry.

Based in the Toronto, Ontario, area, SkyX was founded by Didi Horn, a former Israeli Air Force captain and drone pilot. The company’s SkyOne vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) drone was specifically designed for pipeline inspections, mapping and security surveillance.

“We know that our technology can significantly cut costs and improve efficiency—helping the sector as a whole—along with each and every customer,” Horn said. “Our unique solution, which combines both VTOL flight and autonomous remote charging, puts us well ahead of the competition. “

According to SkyX, the SkyOne drone can travel at 90 miles per hour for 70 min while detecting leaks, vandalism, vegetation encroachment and other potential problems. Unlike other drones, SkyOne can recharge in the field. Through the company’s proprietary technology, the drone flies to the nearest available remote, autonomous station where it recharges in a weather-shielded dome before continuing its mission.

Currently, the oil and gas sector relies primarily on road vehicles, helicopters and other manned aircraft to detect damage and threats to pipelines—an estimated $37 billion annually for monitoring expenses. SkyX said SkyOne allows for unlimited data collection 24 hours a day in real-time and offers users a far wider scope of information.

SkyX plans to offer a service-leasing model, enabling oil and gas companies to use SkyOne to access custom data and information without the burden of maintenance costs. The company can control either an individual drone or an entire fleet with the ability to monitor events through real-time video.

“We have built not only a fantastic, game-changing product for the oil and gas industry, but have also built a fantastic team of experts ready to get it out there,” Horn said.