AeroVironment (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.”