Video: Early-Stage AUVs Set To Launch in North Sea Facilities Inspection Trials

Source: ACE

Air Control Entech (ACE) and the Oil & Gas Technology Centre are launching three state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which aim to reduce offshore oil and gas inspection costs by up to 50%. Early-stage technology trials have been secured with a number of major operators for the UAVs’ deployment on North Sea facilities. These trials will provide feedback that will be used to further improve functionality and capability.

Rather than modifying an existing design, ACE has worked with industry partners to design these UAVs to meet specific requirements and tackle the challenges companies face in the inspection of offshore facilities.

Live stream capabilities. Provides a real-time, high-definition video stream and data transfer from offshore inspections to onshore teams. This can reduce the size of offshore inspection teams and significantly improve the speed and efficiency of reporting.

Ultrasonic testing. Delivers faster, smarter, and repeatable nondestructive testing. Using electromagnets to lock onto a structure, the UAV uses less power, enabling longer flight times and repeated readings at a single location. Advanced cameras accurately position the UAV and a bespoke data management system provides clients with instant access to results.

3D laser scanning. Cutting-edge technology enables the scanning of offshore structures to within 2-mm accuracy, significantly improving the accuracy of re-engineering projects by obtaining point cloud data from inaccessible locations.

The next phase of the project will see the development of a UAV for use in confined spaces, as well as research and development into flight control systems and improved flight performance through battery technology.

Kieran Hope, managing director for Air Control Entech, said, ‘We are delighted to have completed the initial milestones for our project with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre. We now have three cutting-edge UAVs which are ready to be deployed. The support from the Centre has been excellent and it’s helped us deliver technology that makes essential inspection work smarter, faster, and safer.

Asset Integrity Solution Centre Manager Rebecca Allison said, “We’re pleased with the progress of our project with Air Control Entech and it’s great to see three new UAVs ready to be deployed. Our goal is to eliminate the impact of asset integrity on operational uptime by 2026 and developing advanced UAVs is vital. The feedback and support of our industry partners has been instrumental, so it’s no surprise that there is already widespread interest in trialing the technology.”




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