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American Robotics gets a purchase order from Chevron for advanced drone technology [Image: American Robotics]

By Maureen McCall

US major Chevron has ordered federally-approved Scout Systems drones from Ondas Holdings and American Robotics to support its methane monitoring programmes, Ondas said January 26.

Ondas, a global provider of next-generation mission-critical Internet of Things networks, acquired AR in 2021. 

AR is a leading developer of automated commercial drone systems. It is the first company approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate multiple drones beyond-visual-line-of-sight without a human operator on-site.

“Prior to our...FAA approvals, asset managers that used drones to monitor their oil and gas fields needed to employ pilots and visual observers to fly the systems manually, and then manually convert the data into actionable insights,” said Reese Mozer, CEO of American Robotics.

“With Scout Systems, we are providing the oil and gas industry with a dramatically more efficient and effective way to manage, monitor, and inspect their assets,” he said. Analytics that were previously unattainable due to high costs of operation are now available through the Scout Systems, allowing users to make informed decisions in real-time that will drive their business forward.”

The fully-automated drone systems conduct up to 20 autonomous missions each day, enabling detailed monitoring of methane emissions, leaks and equipment damage in oil and gas infrastructure.

The technology enables the high-frequency inspections that are critical for oil and gas companies to comply with climate change mitigation commitments and regulations such as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Air Act rule, intended to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

The global oil and gas industry is projected to spend $15.6bn on digital transformations by the end of the decade, technology intelligence firm ABI Research said in a December 2021 report.