Drone applications in the maritime industry. When will enclosed space inspection by drones become an accepted practice in maritime and offshore operations?
Every year people die inspecting enclosed spaces. These spaces can contain depleted oxygen levels, toxic gases, and/or material otherwise unsafe for humans. Using drones for this work will enhance safety and reduce costs. Drone-based solutions for the inspection of enclosed spaces consist of sending drones into void spaces, duct keels, ballast and potable water tanks, or cargo and storage tanks, for mapping, surveying, sniffing, and measuring the thickness of paint. Enclosed space inspections on ships alone are estimated to cost US$279mil globally/year. For land-based inspections, drones working a single day can do what three workers need three days to complete, without requiring any suspension of operations. Furthermore, drones can survey spaces that people can’t access, and drones are faster to acquire and transmit data. A real game changer may come when drones can perform tasks autonomously, where trained pilots are not needed. For maritime and offshore applications, drone developers are targeting oil and gas companies for infrastructure inspection and monitoring, while application for enclosed spaces is forthcoming.
The international PERISCOPE workshop “Drone Applications Maritime Industry”, will take place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 2 September 2019.
Participants from around the North Sea will provide insight on the actual needs and challenges of the market; regulatory issues; and current and future technology and service.
Picture: Flickr © Witold Waschut