Aeryon Labs, a global provider of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) and other related robotic systems, has supplied Aeryon Scout UAVs to British Petroleum for assisting BP’ attempts of cleaning oil spills. These UAVs are highly compact, flying robotic surveying systems.
Each UAV acts like a small helicopter and can accommodate one person. It can be controlled from the ground by means of a computer interface featuring map linked touch- screen which is not yet patented. Aeryon Scout offers real-time aerial view and by interpreting the geo-referenced images, the movement of oil spill across the ocean can be assessed by the clean-up teams. Depending on the interpretation made, the crew can quickly guide their oil- cleaning resources for effective clean-up.
Dave Kroetsch, President of Aeryon Labs has expressed his gratification over effective utilization of UAVs for the sake of protecting the environment. He added that Aeryon Scout was developed for those applications that involve passing of aerial- intelligence to personnel on the ground, thereby enabling them to perform their jobs successfully. Kroetsch stated that since one cannot view the oil spill across the ocean from the ground, determination of the next area for oil clean- up is one of the biggest tasks faced by the clean-up crew. UAVs can address this challenge by providing instantaneous aerial- view of the nearby area thereby enabling reduction of idle- time and assuring rapid clean-up tasks.
According to Ed Thompson, Director, BP Crisis Management Unit, Aeryon Scout can profoundly accelerate their efforts in cleaning the oil- spill and it also enables effective utilization of the available cleaning resources.
Initially, oil- spilled areas were surveyed using manned helicopters. This method is not only expensive but also less helpful since a single helicopter has to deal with an extensive area and has to provide information to numerous clean-up teams. But Aeryon Scout is reasonably priced and is also capable of gathering instantaneous data. Scout can also be used in missions involving short period and short-range in providing real time information to team members.
The safety aspects of Aeryon Scout ensuring its air worthiness include intelligent fault dealing, automated pre-flight checks etc. The UAV weighs 2 ½ pounds. Hence without any difficulty it can be securely employed in any location without troubling the surroundings. The Scout has been so designed such that people without technical expertise and with nominal training can handle it. All features of the flight are monitored by an on-board computer system, thereby enabling the operator to concentrate on finishing the current mission.