NEWS ROUNDUP – 01/30/2017

Today we have the most awesome of drone startups and automation in the oil and gas industry.

No Assembly Required – A startup out of Israel has created a fancy shipping container unlike anything on the planet. Indeed, CrunchbaseCB Insights, and Data Fox all list 0 competitors.

But what does the container ship? A drone! The big deal here is that the shipping container has a sliding roof, internal elevator, and robotic arm such that the container can launch a drone, land a drone, and change the drone’s battery. With these capabilities Airobotics has delivered the true promise of network controlled drones: the only human in the loop is the the planner who sets up the flight path and reviews the captured data, all from the comfort of their office on the other side of the planet.

For a variety of reasons, enterprise drones only make sense if their deployment and battery charging is completely hands-off. Missions planners must be able to add missions to a queue, then receive an alert when the mission is over and data is ready for analysis. This means that the drone base station is actually more important than the drone itself. Airobotics is the first drone entrant to realize this, and this makes them an exciting company.

What makes them even more exciting? They have a developer partner program! Take a look and apply if you have an idea.

People Used to Do That?!? – Bloomberg chronicles the increasing drive for efficiency after the oil boom ended. In an industrial setting, efficiency means mechanical automation, and a robot has been built to automate much of the heavy lifting done by roughnecks.

People who drill oil wells are called roughnecks, and being a roughneck means dodging 10-inch pipes dangling above your head while muscling those pipes into position to be rammed down a 10-inch hole. The floor is slippery from mud and the noise is deafening due to the clanging, banging, jamming and churning of metric tons of steel. Additionally, if you’ve watched Mark Wahlberg’s Deepwater Horizon, you know that if anything goes wrong everything blows up. That people are even allowed near this industrial process is a testament to the essential need for oil.

But this is changing, and with advances in sensors, data processing, and industrial actuators we get closer to a future where a well’s plan is implemented by pushing ‘Enter’. All industries are moving in this direction, a direction in which the digital data modeling an operation are considered more real than the operational hardware itself.


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