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The Scout 137 drone lets asset inspectors see in the dark

Published 13 Oct 2022 (updated 29 Apr 2024) · 3 min read

Quick information

  • Available

At a glance

  • Inspection drone for industrial assets
  • Uses 3D LiDAR to navigate dark, enclosed spaces
  • Improves worker safety, inspection efficiency and data analysis

The Scout 137 Drone System is designed to perform inspections of indoor industrial assets and confined spaces. It uses 3D LiDAR for navigation and object detection, providing situational awareness to the pilot and making inspections safer, faster and more efficient. “Our mission is to eliminate the need to send workers into hazardous spaces,” says Eivind Sivertsen, Marketing Director at ScoutDI.

Workers risk injury when inspecting industrial assets such as storage tanks for crude oil and chemicals. Enveloped by darkness, workers may fall from great heights, be struck by a loose beam or suffer exposure to toxic substances. Yet someone must perform regular inspections to prevent catastrophic tank leakages and other accidents.

“Drones can minimise the risk,” explains Sivertsen. “But enclosed spaces and steel structures interfere with GPS and magnetic compass systems, rendering drones less useful in most cases.”

Inspection with 3D LiDAR

The Scout 137 Drone System performs inspections of storage tanks and the like normally done by humans.

“What differentiates us is our 3D LiDAR sensor. This allows our drone to navigate indoors without any kind of GPS or compass coverage. Operators get a 360-degree overview of the space, even in total darkness. This gives them situational awareness,” says Sivertsen.

The drone uses a tether cable, providing unlimited flight time. All the data is available in real time via a high-speed data link to the operator using the Scout tablet. The operator sees the live camera feed on screen with the 3D map generated by the LiDAR.

The Scout 137 is more than the drone itself; it comes with the cloud-based Scout Portal, which can be used for advanced data analysis using machine learning algorithms.

“Ours is a complete system. Findings are location tagged, and we can relate them to 3D asset models and generate useful statistics on the findings,” says Sivertsen.

Moreover, the Scout API can connect the data to an asset owner’s integrity management system. This allows users to work in the systems that they are used to, making the data even more accessible and useful.

Scoutdi AS
The Scout Portal provides easy access to data collected by the drone and enables advanced data analysis.

Safer inspections

The Scout 137 Drone System provides the safest way to inspect enclosed spaces. Workers can perform inspections without even entering the asset, reducing, or completely eliminating the risk of injury.

The environment benefits as well. “Our drone discovers corrosion and cracks that can lead to potential structural mishaps with toxic leakages. We also make obsolete some old-school inspection methods that have inherent contamination risk,” says Sivertsen.

In addition, the drone performs inspections far more efficiently, thus reducing operating costs. “Our drone quickly reaches the ceiling of tall cargo tanks and inspects every centimetre in minutes rather than hours. This allows for more frequent inspections and better predictive maintenance,” says Sivertsen.

The system also livestreams data to offsite quality managers, facilitating quick decision-making and efficient use of the onsite crew’s time.

Promising global response

The drone inspection and monitoring market is expected to reach USD 35 billion by 2030. At the cutting edge of this market, the Scout 137 Drone System has customers worldwide and continues to garner interest.

“We had our first sale in late 2020, and we are already receiving requests from around the world, from China, Indonesia and Singapore to Canada and the US,” says Sivertsen. The company plans to expand into all regions.

The drone is relevant for a number of industrial areas, including maritime, infrastructure, commodity cargo, power generation, port facilities, and oil and gas.

“We expect to make inspections more sustainable for everyone involved,” Sivertsen concludes.

Eivind Sivertsen

Marketing Director

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Leirfossvegen 5D, 7037 TRONDHEIM, Norway