FAA grants first-ever over-land restricted type certificate to
AeroVironment Puma AE UAS for use in day-to-day operations at the
BP-operated Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska's North Slope
BP embraces UAS-based information service to improve productivity,
safety and efficiency; selects AeroVironment for 3D mapping, other
services at North Slope operations over multi-year period
Imaging and GIS services deliver engineering-quality information
safely, reliably and effectively while helping to protect sensitive
North Slope environment
PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
(NASDAQ: AVAV) today announced that BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.,
selected the company to provide mapping, Geographic Information System
(GIS) and other commercial information services at its Prudhoe Bay oil
field, the largest oil field in North America, for a five-year period.
Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technology deployed by BP at its Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska with the Puma AE, AeroVironment UAS. Photo courtesy of BP.
The contract marks the first time unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will
be performing routine commercial services over land in compliance with
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.
AeroVironment deployed a comprehensive information solution
incorporating its proven Puma
AE UAS, equipped with either a custom integrated LiDAR (Light
Detection and Ranging) or its standard electro-optical and infrared
sensor payload. The sensor payloads produce imagery and data for
processing into 3D computerized models of roads, pads and pipelines, and
other actionable information, including precision volumetric measurement
and topographic analysis of gravel pits at the North Slope field.
Commercial UAS operations began on June 8, 2014.
"Thanks to the FAA's rigorous, safety-focused certification process for
UAS, BP and AeroVironment have launched a safer, better and more
cost-effective solution for managing critical infrastructure and
resources," said Tim Conver, AeroVironment chairman and chief executive
officer. "BP's forward-thinking embrace of UAS technology enabled
AeroVironment to deliver a comprehensive approach for generating,
processing and converting data collected by portable UAS into actionable
information that provides tangible economic and operational advantages.
Integrated into BP's routine operations, this new solution is now
helping BP manage its extensive Prudhoe Bay field operations in a way
that enhances safety, protects the environment, improves productivity
and accomplishes activities never before possible."
"This is an important achievement for our joint team and for the
industry in demonstrating the safe and effective use of our proven UAS
technology for commercial applications. Our team has established a model
for delivering this flexible and efficient information service,
including back office data processing, to a wide variety of customers
and industries throughout the world for whom better information, safety
and reliability matter."
AeroVironment's extensive operational track record includes the
production and delivery of nearly 25,000 new and replacement small
unmanned aircraft with cumulative flight time estimated at more than one
million hours. The company has delivered its small UAS to customers in
the United States and in more than 30 allied nations.
BP's IT&S Chief Technology Office pursued the application of unmanned
aircraft systems technology to enhance BP's oil and gas operations.
Recent FAA restricted category aircraft type (RCAT) certificates for
Puma AE and a larger UAS over water were the first for UAS in the
national airspace systems (NAS). BP defined its mapping needs for the
Alaska North Slope and issued a request for information in June 2013 to
multiple geographic information system (GIS), manned and unmanned
aircraft systems companies. BP selected AeroVironment's response and
invited the company to perform a proof-of-concept demonstration.
AeroVironment successfully demonstrated mapping and inspection services
incorporating UAS at the Prudhoe Bay field in September 2013 under a
public certificate of authorization through the University of Alaska
Fairbanks. These services included 3D road mapping, 3D gravel pit
volumetric analysis, visual and 3D pipeline analysis, general topography
and environmental monitoring services, and demonstrated the ability to
support wildlife protection, ice floe monitoring, search and rescue and
oil spill response. The team also demonstrated inspection of critical
infrastructure, including flare stacks, tanks, bridges and power lines.
As part of a comprehensive data collection, processing and reporting
solution, AeroVironment integrated a LiDAR sensor payload into its
battery-powered Puma AE UAS. AeroVironment's expert UAS operators are
now performing photogrammetry and LiDAR analysis to survey Prudhoe Bay
infrastructure including the gravel roads, pipelines and a gravel pit.
The Puma AE's ability to fly low, at 200 to 400 feet above ground level,
and slowly, at less than 40 knots, provides BP with highly accurate
location analytics capabilities to help manage its complex. The Puma AE
is capable of up to 3.5 hours flight time per battery and has a wingspan
of about nine feet.
In one application, surveying the 200 miles of roadways built to support
North Slope activities is critical to the effective operation of the
Prudhoe Bay field. Drill rigs that traverse the roadways span up to 28
feet wide, 132 feet long and weigh up to 3.5 million pounds, with a
driver at each end. The highly accurate LiDAR-produced maps delivered by
AeroVironment's Puma AE, along with precision GPS guidance systems,
assist drivers in keeping moving drill rigs centered on the roadways,
even in low visibility conditions.
The Puma AE UAS is well suited for operations in highly sensitive
ecological areas because of its electric propulsion, low acoustic
signature and small operating footprint. AeroVironment's UAS services
will help improve the safety and reliability of BP's Prudhoe Bay
infrastructure and maintenance programs, which accounts for about
two-thirds of Alaska oil production.
AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops,
produces, supports and operates an advanced portfolio of Unmanned
Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. The
company's electric-powered, hand-launched
unmanned aircraft systems provide powerful actionable information to
military, public safety and commercial personnel around the world
through real-time, airborne imaging, sensing and communication.
AeroVironment's electric transportation solutions include a
comprehensive suite of electric
vehicle (EV) charging systems, installation and network services for
consumers, automakers, utilities and government agencies, power
cycling and test systems for EV developers and industrial
electric vehicle charging systems for commercial fleets. More
information about AeroVironment is available at www.avinc.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking
statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current
expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and
uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive,
governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may
cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from
those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are
not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and
obtain additional contracts; our reliance on sales to the U.S.
government; changes in the timing and/or amount of government spending;
changes in the supply and/or demand and/or prices for our products and
services; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of
competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure
to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate
new technology with current products; and general economic and business
conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a
further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the
reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including
our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on
10-Q. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise.
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(Exploration) Alaska, Inc.
Source: AeroVironment, Inc.
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