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Regular beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations significantly advance as Canadian UAVs Inc. and Lockheed Martin CDL Systems completes the first BVLOS pipeline, well site and powerline inspections using the Transport Canada compliant Lockheed Martin Indago 2 at the Foremost Testing Range.
Canadian UAVs seeks to provide its’ customers with innovative and cutting edge technology to ensure safe and economic data acquisition for oil and gas and other industrial assets. At the UAV testing facility in Foremost, Alberta, Canadian UAVs successfully performed multiple BVLOS operations to inspect several pipelines, wellheads and powerlines. This demonstration leverages Canadian UAVs best of breed solutions to provide BVLOS operations for its customers while maintaining strict manned aviation safety best practices.
“It’s a milestone our team has been working towards for years,” said Sean Greenwood, president of Canadian UAVs Inc. “Going BVLOS has technically been solved for some time with regards to powerful communications links and autopilot hardware. Canadian UAVs has been focused on creating an end-to-end paradigm in coordination with Transport Canada to conduct these operations outside of restricted military airspace where our customers have a substantial regulatory and logistical needs to acquire actionable data.
“Due to our in-house combined military and commercial, manned and unmanned aviation backgrounds, the most advanced Lockheed Martin unmanned aircraft systems and a constant drive to evolve our aerial solutions, we have been able to demonstrate today the most logical operating structure for BVLOS on the market,” he said.
“We are pleased that Canadian UAVs has selected our Indago 2 aircraft system with mobile ground control station as a solution for their commercial enterprise,” said John Molberg, Business Development lead for Lockheed Martin CDL Systems. “Our systems routinely fly beyond line-of-sight for our military customers, and that has allowed us to gain compliance status with Transport Canada for use in commercial airspace. This flight achievement is a bellwether for Canadian UAVs, Lockheed Martin and Foremost Test Range, while also showcasing the leadership provided by Unmanned Systems Canada and Transport Canada for the safe use of unmanned systems in Canadian airspace.”
“The ability to use BVLOS for UAV inspection and survey purposes would considerably increase safety, economic, and environmental considerations,” said Beau Chaitan, environmental and regulatory engineer, MEG Energy. “As many of the assets and areas we are interested in surveying are located in regions of dense muskeg and access is significantly limited. Using traditional techniques on the ground for performing integrity inspections on remote sites or conducting reclamation monitoring would require the construction of either winter ice roads, or extensive summer access. This is not only an expensive exercise, but it’s also environmentally disruptive, as it creates numerous linear disturbances that potentially affect wildlife.
“BVLOS with a UAV is an improvement over performing inspections and monitoring with a manned helicopter, as it is safer from a worker exposure point-of-view. Additionally, helicopter use has been known to scare off wildlife, which is counterproductive to the activity of conducting wildlife monitoring in remote areas. As oil sands operators continue to collaborate on regional initiatives, the ability to employ BLVOS with a UAV further enhances the possibilities to cooperate on environmental and regulatory activities,” said Chaitan.