Canadian drone remotely monitors gas pipeline in Mexico

SkyOne sits near a gas pipeline right-of-way. The signs warn against digging near the high-pressure line. Image: PRNewsfoto/SkyX Systems Corporation

Canadian drone operator SkyX Systems Corporation has successfully completed an unmanned data collection flight of 100 kilometres of gas pipeline in Mexico, marking one of the longest journeys in its class.

The robotic flight was programmed and monitored remotely from the company's Greater Toronto Area SkyCenter mission control, with a support crew of engineers on the ground in Mexico.

Using high-resolution imagery, the longest of multiple flights identified more than 200 potentially significant anomalies along the remote pipeline, ranging from unauthorized buildings and cultivation, through to a fissure possibly caused by seismic activity, the company said in a statement.

A 100-plus kilometre flight gathered data in a little more than an hour that would have taken a person well over a week, said SkyX. Geo-referenced anomalies the customer was unaware existed were pinpointed with precise coordinates for investigation and remediation.

"More than $38 billion is spent annually monitoring oil and gas pipelines using less efficient means, which often identify problems only long after they've occurred. SkyX brings an unprecedented value proposition to this global issue," stated Didi Horn, SkyX founder and chief executive officer.

The SkyX System consists of an aircraft that takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane, the SkyCenter control room (which allows for real-time and secure mission monitoring from remote locations), and the company's proprietary SkyBoxes, which allow SkyOne to recharge and continue long-range missions without having to "return to home."

Currently finalizing a second round of financing, SkyX said it has gathered 25 per cent of its targeted funding.