ROBOTS in Oil & Gas production! No, this is not science-fiction it is a reality. Robots have served in various industries for many years, but now the science of robots, or should we say "Robotics", is developing at such a rapid pace that robots have become far more diverse, infinitely smarter and are being used in ways that we would not have dreamt possible a few years ago, especially in the E&P and Petrochemical industries. In keeping with modern trends, PTTEP engineers have developed a multi-purpose Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), complete with "Plug and Play" imagery options, to perform a wide range of aerial monitoring and inspection applications. We call it a "Multipurpose Plant Inspection Octocopter" (MPIO). The MPIO project focuses on areas that are considered high-risk for human intervention and subsequently financially high-cost too. The MPIO has been designed and tested to perform various kinds of plant inspection; from offshore riser platform storage tank roofs to cooling tower observations, to name a few. But, in order to put the MPIO to the ultimate challenge and prove its viability, our engineers have been utilizing it to perform live flare-stack inspections, where radiated heat and turbulent air-conditions prevail.
To date, there have been many successful demonstrations providing quality high resolution pictures and proving the techniques applied. However, knowledge gained and ongoing development-effort will ultimately lead to the next step, a "Fully Automated MPIO" that will include; Auto Take-off, Auto Flight Control, Auto Landing, etc.