Inspection Drones Detect Unmarked Gas Wells for PA Highway Project



Pennsylvania by locating abandoned – potentially dangerous – gas wells.


US Aerial Video Inc. (UAV) recently finished a six-month proof-of-concept project for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in partnership with the National Energy Technology Laboratory.


Using a magnetometer attached to a drone, technicians located several abandoned and unmarked gas wells across a swathe of southwestern Pennsylvania. Locating such potential trouble spots is good news for the Turnpike Commission as it plans to develop a highway through the wooded area.


With some more than a century old, abandoned wells can run thousands of feet deep and may be otherwise undetectable by conventional methods.


The drone surveyed the ground surface and detected wells by sensing perturbation with the earth’s magnetic field caused by vertical steel well casing. That allowed us to map the wells prior to the contractor randomly discovering them – saving the project money,” Ken Heirendt, Geo-Technical Engineering Manager of the PA Turnpike Commission, said.

The drone project collected more than 125-line miles of data over five regions along the proposed corridor. In one half-mile square grid alone, the drone found 41 potential targets – five of which turned out to be unmarked gas wells.


During this project, we were challenged by many facets of integrating these technologies,” Luke Wylie, COO of US Aerial Video, said. He added:


In addition to overcoming the hardware challenges, we had to develop complex flight procedures to successfully collect actionable magnetic data in the rugged areas in which we were operating, all while complying with FAA regulations governing drone use. We are pleased that we were able to identify dozens of abandoned wells during this project. We’re confident this airborne magnetometer technology is poised to be a game changer for many industries such as earthworks, mineral exploration, utilities, asset recovery and more.”


Detecting dangerous gas is just another day on the job for drone tech. Last year, Martin Instrument and Microdrones released a UAS methane detection solution, the mdTector1000 CH4. In 2016, San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced a test project to use drones for methane leak detection across the utility’s 70,000-square-mile service area.







“该无人机通过感测由垂直钢井套管引起的地球磁场扰动,对地表进行了勘测并检测到废井。这使得我们能够在承包商随机发现它们之前测绘出废井,从而节省项目资金,”PA收费公路委员会地质技术工程经理Ken Heirendt说。


 “在这个项目中,我们受到整合这些技术的许多方面的挑战,”美国航拍视频首席运营官Luke Wylie说。他接着说道:“除了克服硬件挑战之外,我们还必须开发复杂的飞行程序,以便在我们运营的崎岖地区成功收集可操作的磁性数据,同时遵守FAA关于无人机使用的规定。我们很高兴能够在这个项目中识别几十个废弃的井。我们有信心这种机载磁力仪技术有望成为许多行业的改变游戏规则的工具,如土木工程、矿产勘探、公用事业、资产回收等等。”

检测危险气体只是无人机技术工作的又一天。去年,Martin InstrumentMicrodrones发布了无人机甲烷检测解决方案mdTector1000 CH4 2016年,总部位于旧金山的太平洋天然气和电力公司宣布了一项测试项目,在该公用事业的70,000平方英里的服务区域内使用无人机检测甲烷泄漏。


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