An innovative, safer, and more affordable method of delivering parts and people to massive off-shore rigs may have just kick-started.
A Camcopter S-100 drone from Equinor and Nordic Unmanned transported a 3D-printed part to a massive oil rig off the shores of Norway on August 27th. The trip saw the camcopter fly 62 miles (100 km) over the North Sea to complete its journey.
Harsh sea and weather conditions surrounding North and Norwegian Sea oil platforms make reaching them an arduous and potentially dangerous mission. Yet, some two million passengers are transported across to them each year in order to operate them. These flights are carried out by heavy Instrument Flight Rules helicopters, which are pricey and dangerous.
In a mission to minimize costs, carbon emissions, and danger, the oil companies operating these major platforms are looking for alternatives.
On August 27th, the Camcopter S-100 carried out its unmanned mission to carry a payload to the Troll A production platform, which was the heaviest and tallest manmade construction ever to be moved.
The camcopter itself can carry a total payload of 243 pounds (110 kg), and can travel at a maximum speed of 140 mph (220 kmh), with an operating ceiling of 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) and a maximum flight time of eight hours.
Aside from carrying deliveries across to oil rigs, the camcopter can also conduct visual inspections of these platforms, as the Camcopter S-100 did to Troll A. During its test mission the camcopter carried out a simulated search and rescue operation along with one of Troll A's standby vessels.
"The technology is proven and robust enough to implement in large scale and reduces the risk cost and environmental footprint drastically," said business unit manager, logistics and robotization, for Nordic Unmanned, Pål Kristensen.
He added "This marks the beginning of a new chapter within unmanned logistics."
Take a look at the Camcopter S-100 in action below: