Drones – not just for spying anymore


Picture source: http://www.thecitizen.org.au/

While Amazon gamers media headlines about drone research for potential same-day delivery, BP and Cargill are using the unmanned aerial vehicles to improve sustainability and safety.

BP received the first commercial license to fly drones over U.S. soil last year, The Guardian reported, and uses them to spot potential pipeline leaks and protect the safety of its workforce on its oil infrastructure in Alaska. At BP’s Prudhoe Bay site, floods, ice break-ups and ice floes constantly alter the landscape, making other monitoring methods difficult.

An unmanned “octocopter” checked out a 100-meter cooling tower in Hull, England, eliminating the need for people to climb up dangerous scaffolds to check its integrity, BP told the British newspaper.

Cargill said drones are helping monitors its commitment to zero deforestation in its Indonesian palm oil supply chains. Faster and more accurate detection will protect against burning and illegal forest clearing, and the right sensors can help improve yield, producing more palm oil on the same amount of land.