Materials Performance

MAY 2017

Materials Performance is the world's most widely circulated magazine dedicated to corrosion prevention and control. MP provides information about the latest corrosion control technologies and practical applications for every industry and environment.

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31 NACE INTERNATIONAL: VOL. 56, NO. 5 MATERIALS PERFORMANCE MAY 2017 Drone Interest Soars One marine consortium led by RIMS has proposed enclosing their drone within a protective cage. Photo courtesy of Flyability. they can disseminate and post-process data gathered," says Patrick Thévoz, CEO and co-founder of the drone development company. In June 2016, the two companies com- pleted the world's first trial inspection of a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) cargo tank by drone without using a human to enter the tank. According to Karen Cowie, BW Offshore's (Oslo, Norway) senior integrity engineer for the Athena FPSO in the U.K.'s North Sea, the drone was able to fly down into the tank unaided and accurately navigate the internal space for inspections. "From the inspection completed, it is clear that the benefits in terms of not just time and cost to inspect but also prepara- tion, cleaning, repeatability, and access requirements highlight that this technology is an exceptional tool to have available," Cowie says. "For our specific requirements, the safety benefit to be gained by avoiding personnel entry is invaluable." Preprogrammed Inspection Missions In September 2016, technical services and maritime classification organization Lloyd's Register (London, United Kingdom) signed an agreement 4 with drone company Airobotics (Petah Tikva, Israel) to help develop its own use of remote access tech- nologies, including the use of autonomous drones for preprogrammed inspection missions. In this collaboration, the drone com- pany has developed a fully automatic plat- form that is continuously available on site and enables both preprogrammed missions and expert access in an on-demand format. The platform is self-sustained, with an abil- ity to replace its own batteries and payloads as required for different missions. According to project officials, the pay- loads used on drone inspections include various capture devices such as high-defini- tion video cameras that capture still shots for IR thermography, which is used fre- quently to detect CUI. Further technical capabilities available with their platform include 3D models and map generation, with other sensors available upon request. Looking ahead, the companies plan to focus on additional development within the platform's hyperspectral capabilities. Hyperspectral imaging works by obtaining the full spectrum for each pixel in an image, with a goal of covering a wider range of wavelengths than can be seen by the human eye and better detecting materials or patterns in the object being inspected. "We believe our cooperation will open doors for the maritime industry to reveal a new level of efficiency and innovation with our automated, industrial-grade drone solution," says Ran Krauss, CEO of Airobotics. Land-Based Control Center Meanwhile, in March 2016, integrated power and propulsion solutions provider Rolls-Royce (Derby, United Kingdom) unveiled its vision of a land-based control center to remotely monitor and control unmanned ships. 5 In a six-minute demon- stration video, the company shows how the program would use surveillance drones to help monitor what is happening around a ship. "We're living in an ever-changing world, where unmanned and remote-controlled transportation systems will become a com- mon feature of human life," says Iiro Lind- borg, general manager of the company's remote and autonomous operations seg- ment within its ship intelligence division. "They offer unprecedented flexibility and operational efficiency." "Our research aims to understand the human factors involved in monitoring and operating ships remotely," he adds. "It iden- tifies ways crews ashore can use tools to get a realistic feel for what is happening at sea." Partners on the land-based control cen- ter project include nonprofit R&D group VTT (Espoo, Finland) and the Tampere Unit for Computer Human Interaction (TAUCHI) research unit at the University of Tampere (Tampere, Finland). Their project envisions using staff at a control center to plot a complete course for autonomous vessels—each with remotely piloted drones for inspection and predictive maintenance operations— before turning the process over to regional remote operators. The technology would enable a small crew of between seven and 14 people to monitor and control an entire fleet. The groups involved in this joint research project plan to build a project dem- onstrator "before the end of the decade." References 1 K.R. Larsen, "Drones Help Detect Corrosion under Insulation," MP 55, 5 (2016): pp. 14-16. 2 "AkzoNobel and Partners Developing Drone Technology to Make Marine Industry Safer," media releases and features, 02/01/2017, http://www.akzonobel.com/media-releases- and-features (February 20, 2017). 3 "Flyability Elios Performs the Inspection of a Storage Tank at Vopak Netherlands," News— Flyability, 11/09/2016, http://www.flyability. com/news (February 20, 2017). 4 "LR Signs MoU with Airobotics to Support LR's Remote Presence Technology Program," News archive, 09/06/2016, http://www.lr.org/en/ news-and-insight/news (Feburary 20, 2017). 5 "Rolls-Royce Reveals Future Shore Control Center," Press releases, 03/22/2016, https:// www.rolls-royce.com/media/press-releases. aspx (February 20, 2017).

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