A SkyX Drone Just Completed a 62-Mile Data Collecting Flight

The data-collecting drone flight inspected a gas pipeline in an hour, finding more than 200 issues previously unnoticed.

SkyX Systems Corporation, a Canadian firm specializing in aerial data analysis, has officially completed an unmanned flight of 62 miles (100km), collecting data along a gas pipeline throughout. According to DroneLife, SkyX Systems hereby achieved one of the longest unmanned flights of its kind. The flight, while pre-programmed, was monitored continuously from SkyCenter mission control in Toronto and a support team of engineers on standby in Mexico. This 62-mile data collecting flight resulted in more than 200 potentially unwelcome abnormalities along the pipeline, such as fissures and unauthorized buildings and greenery nearby. 

According to DroneLife, the SkyX drone is a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, which allows it to take off vertically but cruise similarly to a traditional airplane. Reportedly, SkyX founder and CEO Didi Horn was extremely pleased with the aerial analysis it provided his company and the response from the SkyX partners. “This mission was groundbreaking,” said Horn. “We have proven our solution in a rugged environment which presented network communications challenges. Our Mexican partner was stunned not only by our results, but by the speed and accuracy with which we delivered them.” 

Is Horn simply tooting his own horn, or was this truly a remarkable benchmark in this particular field? Well, reportedly, the firm is labeling this as the former due to the following reasons. First, the aerial data collection along 62 miles took about an hour, as opposed to a week, which is what the company estimates for inspecting the same area traditionally from the ground. Second, spotting the 200-plus anomalies via drone allowed for specific coordinates to be recorded, allowing for immediate investigation and improvement. Finally, the cost-benefit argument, using a UAV was not only more precise, but far cheaper. Ultimately, these are all valid points, points that most drone-infused businesses in the inspection and monitoring industries have argued with.

According to Horn, “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.” Ultimately, using drones to monitor large areas of land is simply a smart business decision. UAVs cut down costs and time, and offer a clear advantage when it comes to vantage points.