Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BP gets first FAA approval to use commercial UAVs

Posted on 06/11/14 by Frank Tobe

BP, the oil and energy company, received the first FAA early-use approval to fly Puma UAVs in and around Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. 

Puma’s are small, weighing only 13 pounds. They are 4’7” long with a wingspan of 9’ and manufactured by AeroVironment. The battery version can fly for 3-1/2 hours while the solar-powered version can fly for more than 9 hours.

FastCompany reported:

BP says that their single Puma drone will be used for monitoring specific maintenance activities on roads, oil pipelines, and other infrastructure. Industry publication Oil & Gas Financial Journal added that the UAV is designed to aggregate data for BP, including integrating photographs and sensor information into 3-D models of roads, pads, and pipelines, along with precision volumetric measurement, and topographic analysis of the company’s gravel pits.

This is the first of what many expect to be a steady stream of approvals for the use of commercial UAVs in low-population areas of the U.S. Prudhoe Bay has little air traffic and fewer safety hazards.

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About the author: Frank Tobe

Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report. After selling his business and retiring from 25+ years as computer direct marketing and materials and consulting to the Democratic National Committee and major presidential, senatorial, congressional, mayoral campaigns and initiatives all across the U.S., Canada and internationally, he has energetically pursued a new career in researching and investing in robotics.

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