New development in long range drone capability could have significant benefit for field service operations
SkyX, a Canadian company specialising in long-range unmanned aerial monitoring, have recently announce the successful delivery and installation of its first production xStation, a unit that remotely recharges SkyX drones during missions – a key milestone in the company’s evolution.
For field service organisations, particularly those operating in sectors such as oil and gas or power generation, considering using drones to monitor their assets and infrastructure in the field this could be a significant development that could potentially increase efficiency of such operations dramatically.
The xStation is a rugged, all-metal piece of engineering designed to allow the SkyOne drone to remotely recharge while monitoring long-range infrastructure, then continue its mission. By installing multiple xStations along a route, SkyOne can monitor assets like oil and gas pipelines or railroad tracks that stretch hundreds – even thousands – of kilometres.
SkyX is the only operational Unmanned Aerial Systems company to combine a fixed-wing VTOL aircraft with remote charging stations, giving it a distinct competitive advantage.
When algorithms tell SkyOne it’s getting close to recharge time, the aircraft autonomously seeks out the next xStation instead of having to return to home base
For clients, xStations are installed along the route. When algorithms tell SkyOne it’s getting close to recharge time, the aircraft autonomously seeks out the next xStation instead of having to return to home base. The clamshell-like station roof opens automatically; SkyOne then transitions to vertical mode and descends like a helicopter onto the xStation landing pad. The roof closes, providing safe harbour while SkyOne recharges and performs a complete systems check before continuing on its mission.
The complex proprietary engineering behind the xStation was developed completely in-house. SkyX proved the concept with a scaled-down xStation in August of 2016, and has since pushed ahead to ensure the production xStation is as efficient and robust as possible, built for demanding conditions in a wide range of climates.
For the production models, SkyX has partnered with leading-edge Canadian automated solutions firm CMP and the first xStations are scheduled to be installed for clients in July of 2017.