Last month, Shell Global (Shell) announced its plan to deploy unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) in a pilot project to inspect equipment at its Shell Technology Center in Houston, Texas, one of its three global technology hubs. The project is set to launch in early 2019, and Shell plans to use drones and cloud-based platforms provided by Kespry (an aerial intelligence platform uses industrial drones to transform the way data is captured in the field) to help in Shell’s goal of finding solutions for current and future energy challenges. The hub in Houston is comprised of 44 buildings on 200 acres; these drones will be able to inspect different equipment that could be too hot for employees to be near and provide faster and more efficient inspections compared to those of the human eye.

In addition to this project, Shell has also been working with Avitas Systems to fly large UAS beyond visual line of sight in its Permian Basin operations to inspect oil and gas infrastructure. This is yet another example of how drones are changing the way everyday tasks are done for the oil and gas industry.