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Pointivo powers oil storage tank farm inspections using automated drone flights.

By October 28, 2020February 27th, 2023No Comments

In early October, Pointivo joined partner Kittyhawk for the virtual 2020 AUVSI Xponential to celebrate the launch of Kittyhawk’s Air Control, an Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) platform that offers workflows, security, and integrations that give enterprises more control of their drone data. CTO Jacob Garland explained the groundbreaking innovations that Pointivo, in partnership with Kittyhawk, is bringing to enterprise customers to revolutionize how tank farm inspections are performed. 

Pointivo’s inspection solution brings its spatial intelligence platform, Spatial IQ, to a number of different industries allowing for remote inspection of hard-to-reach assets. The platform analyzes sensor data from any common capture method to identify and extract information like location, measurements, and any other essential data about physical assets and structures. Through this spatial intelligence, Pointivo’s solution can improve what are traditionally expensive and manual processes around the inventory and inspection of physical structures.

The Solution in Practice: Fuel Storage Tank Farm Inspections 

Pointivo and Kittyhawk have applied this technology to enhance storage tank farm inspections for a major global oil company. These inspections are traditionally labor-intensive processes, with tanks spread out over hundreds or thousands of acres, making regular inspection and maintenance a significant undertaking. What’s more, tank farm inspections are also dangerous and expensive, as teams must adhere to strict safety regulations and require expensive equipment to reach the areas they need to inspect. With such a challenging, time-intensive, and data-heavy project, it is difficult for inspectors to gather the needed information, manage it, and make it actionable. 

Making Inspections Safer and More Efficient for Better Outcomes

Kittyhawk’s Air Control, integrated with Pointivo’s Spatial IQ platform, makes inspections more efficient and produces better outcomes. The Air Control software fully automates tank farm surveillance rounds through pre-planned, automated drone flights to gather tank imagery at scale and feed it into Pointivo’s platform. This process generates digital artifacts – maps and 3D models – to be provided back to the inspectors. Armed with this digital data, the inspectors can conduct digital inspections of each tank, saving time and improving effectiveness.  

In addition to working faster, this technology allows inspectors to work safer. As working remotely becomes more and more common in a COVID-19 environment, inspectors can complete their assignments without scaling the tanks and stay safely on the ground, or even offsite. “We’re not only reducing risk and increasing safety, we’re also providing new ways to gather that information. More ways to perform those jobs than has ever been possible,” explained Garland. 

Digital Records Support Forecasting and Prevention

Because this solution captures a lot of data across inspected assets, it provides a system of record, or digital twin, of those assets that allows inspectors to “roll back the clock” and look at the condition of the assets over time. This insight can be leveraged to forecast needed maintenance or go back and review a previous repair. More importantly, it supports monitoring conditions that might result in a failure or potential for downtime – a huge risk for companies maintaining critical infrastructure and assets. 

Though Pointivo’s partnership with Kittyhawk demonstrates the impact of this solution on the Oil and Gas industry, this inspection capability applies broadly. Any industry with assets that require regular maintenance and inspection is an excellent candidate to leverage this technology.