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Emerging Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) Technology for Oil and Gas Industry

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Course Credit: 0.1 CEU, 1 PDH

A new breed of Remote Sensing (RS) platform known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is emerging. According to the UAS Roadmap 2007-2032 document an Unmanned system is “A powered vehicle that does not carry a human operator, can be operated autonomously or remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload. Unmanned vehicles are the primary component of unmanned systems.” UAS are widely used in military applications that are “ Dull, Dirty and Dangerous” missions. The size of the aircraft ranges from as small as 10 cm (micro air vehicle) to Global Hawks with wingspan as wide as 70 m. Over the years there have been numerous terminologies that is being associated with UAS namely “ Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV)”, “Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV)”, and “Remotely Operated Aerial Vehicle (ROAV).” UAS can be equipped with a variety of multiple and interchangeable imaging devices, and sensors such as digital videos, infrared cameras, thermal, multi-spectral and hyper-spectral sensors, synthetic aperture radar, laser scanners, chemical, biological, and radiological sensors and weather monitoring devices. Small sized UAS (sUAS) platforms will be ideal for Aerial Robotics in facility inspection and monitoring of deep water production platforms, offshore and onshore facilities, rapid response and assessment tool to monitor an oil spill, monitoring endangered species along oil and gas operation corridors, and security of our critical infrastructure from threats. Robotics technologies present an opportunity to develop reliable and deployable solutions to support business processes while removing personnel from the operating theatre or accessing areas that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Nicholls Geomatics program started investigating the adoption of emerging UAS technology in the Post- Katrina era for monitoring and mapping the coast. Since its inception as a research endeavor in 2005, the sUAS program has now grown into a mature component of Geomatics program instruction and research. The ongoing research projects include characterization of Louisiana barrier islands, inspection of offshore platforms, infrastructure monitoring, and precision agriculture. A sUAS certification program is being designed to prepare students in UAS related careers.

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Course Chapters

  • 1Emerging Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) Technology for Oil and Gas Industry - Chapter 1
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Earn credits by completing this course0.1 CEU credit1 PDH credit


Dr. Balaji Ramachandran