BVLOS oil and gas inspections conducted in Nigeria

By Patrick C. Miller | March 06, 2019

Drone service provider Aerial Robotix has conducted long-range, beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations in Nigeria using a situational awareness application developed by Canadian software company Kongsberg Geospatial Ltd.

Kongsberg’s IRIS program was used by Nigerian-based Aerial Robitix for critical airspace deconflictions supervised by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to demonstrate pipeline inspections with the Schiebel Corp. Campcopter S-100 unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

Aerial Robotix specializes in drone operations for oil and gas industry inspections and provides its services through professionally certified, licensed and insured drone pilots. They can operate in harsh conditions using a variety of platforms, ranging from small fixed-wing and quad-copter drones to large gas-powered, rotary-wing aircraft.

Schiebel’s vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) Camcopter S-100 UAS requires no prepared area or supporting equipment for launch and recovery. It can operate BVLOS during the day or at night in adverse weather conditions out to 120 miles over land and sea.

"Safe BVLOS unmanned flight operations require the very best in equipment and technology," said Kolapo Sodeinde, Aerial Robotix CEO. "We would not have received regulator approval from the NCAA or the client company to conduct BVLOS inspection flights without the Kongsberg Geospatial airspace deconfliction application."

Kongsberg is a geospatial visualization software company based in Ottawa, Ontario. Its IRIS display technology enables the simultaneous monitoring of multiple drones by a single operator. It can also provide real-time calculation of aircraft separation, airspace monitoring and line-of-sight communications to enable BVLOS operations.

According to Kongsberg, IRIS integrates a variety of data feeds—including ADS-B and radar—to give detect-and-avoid warnings while providing real-time 2D and 3D visualizations of a drone’s airborne track, weather data and geo-fenced areas.

"We’re very pleased to be working with an experienced UAS services provider like Aerial Robotix", said Ranald McGillis, Kongsberg president. "Their expertise in oil and gas logistics and their ability to manage large-scale projects provides an excellent and very unique use case for our technology."