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Drone Technology Implements 3D Modelling

Drone technology has quickly delivered numerous versatile and innovative applications to both industrial and consumer markets alike, standing distinctively as one of the trendiest developments of the last decade.

Unsurprisingly, one of the more popular industrial applications for drones can be found in monitoring and inspection, as the platform lends itself to a multitude of opportunities in the field of asset management.

As the O&G industry continues to direct its attention toward operational efficiency, automation and optimisation, many organisations are hurrying to experiment with drone applications, and evaluate their potential as a crucial component in this shift. Where this becomes additionally exciting, and much more in line Dashboard’s own field of expertise, is how we are already seeing companies seeking to combine the innate data collection and monitoring capabilities of drones, with a variety of more advanced technology stacks.

Airscope, an Australian inspections and asset visualisation company, is among those spearheading the use of drones in digital oilfields, and have recently started testing their aerial surveying capabilities in combination with 3D virtual modelling. This integration has the potential to provide remote representation of entire hydrocarbon facilities with realistic detailing, a substantial evolution to the process of using drones primarily as a means of data collection in hard-to-reach locations. Early indications suggest the technology has the capacity to provide a reduction of 3.6% – 10% across everyday operational costs, dependent on the sector and level of integration. Airscope also say they are aiming to reduce capital works projects by a fifth with their 3D modelling effort.

Chris Leslie, the company’s director, explains the decision to expand the functionality of their drones: “We made the transition to asset visualisation because UAV inspection only gave clients a fraction of the story; without context, the full potential of images captured cannot be realised. Once the virtual canvas is created, you can paint any operational or planning data on it, to serve as a human medium to access and interact with big data.”

Drone technology is hugely popular with Dashboard, as similarly to our own offering they provide a highly effective monitoring experience for industry, while providing a robust, inexpensive and relatively modular platform from which to build upon. As AI and autonomous navigation continue to rapidly mature, in combination with data analytics and visualisation, it seems likely that inspection and monitoring mark just the tip of the iceberg for drone applications in the O&G industry alone.