This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
A former Israeli fighter pilot, Didi Horn, has created a new drone that aims to help the oil and gas industry more efficiently and cheaply monitor rigs, pipelines and other operations.
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SkyX, an Israeli-Canadian startup based in Ontario, on Friday announced its public launch and said it was preparing to raise money in a Round B of financing.
SkyOne craft, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) developed by SkyX, are equipped with cameras and sensors and are able to inspect pipelines for damage; they can also do mapping and security surveillance. The drones are able to take off and land vertically and fly autonomously and have the ability to intuitively know when they need recharging.
Different from other drones, through proprietary technology, the SkyOne doesn’t need to return to home base to recharge. Instead, it flies to the nearest available xStation, where it recharges in a weather-shielded dome before continuing its mission, the company said in a statement.
“We believe our technology can significantly cut costs and improve efficiency – helping the sector as a whole,” said Horn, SkyX founder and CEO, adding that the technology will be “game changing” for the oil and gas industry.
“We now have our first customer from Canada who will be provided the solution on trial terms for three to six months,” said Horn in a phone interview. The company estimates its sales opportunity at some $100 million by 2020, he said.
SkyOne now travels 105 kilometers (some 65 miles) per hour and will soon be able to fly at 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour. It can detect things like leaks, vandalism and vegetation encroachment. SkyOne allows for 24/7 data collection, provided in real-time, the statement said.
The drones are manufactured at third-party factories and the recharging stations need to be placed at 60-80 miles from each other. They could be located existing pumping stations of pipelines, on generators or set up as standalone systems, Horn said.
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Photos and video: SkyX