Air Control Entech (ACE), in collaboration with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, has launched three latest and advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been designed to reduce offshore oil and gas inspection costs by up to 50%.

Once deployed, the ACE UAVs will be able to provide faster, more accurate and cost-efficient visual inspection of offshore oil and gas facilities.

The newly developed drones have been designed to provide a real-time, high-definition video stream and data transfer from offshore inspections to onshore teams.

The new UAVs will help reduce the size of offshore inspection teams while improving the speed and efficiency of reporting.

ACE managing director Kieran Hope said: “We are delighted to have completed the initial milestones for our project with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre.

“We are delighted to have completed the initial milestones for our project with the Oil & Gas Technology Centre.”

“We now have three cutting-edge UAVs which are ready to be deployed. The support from the Centre has been excellent and it’s helped us deliver technology that makes essential inspection work smarter, faster and safer.

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“We look forward to continuing our UAV development with the centre and delivering technology that adds value to the industry and reduces costs for operators.”

The autonomous aircraft also offers faster, smarter and repeatable non-destructive testing, and their 3D laser scanning technology allows for the scanning of offshore structures to within 2mm precision, thereby significantly improving the accuracy of re-engineering projects by gathering point cloud data from inaccessible locations.

Under the next phase of the project, ACE will develop a UAV to be used in confined spaces, while also carry out research and development into flight control systems and enhanced flight performance through battery technology.