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Federal Aviation Administration Approves BVLOS Flights for U.S. Refinery, Marking a First


It is great news that Delek United State holdings recently got approval to fly Percepto drones BVLOS for the inspections and monitor on its Tyler, Texas and EL Dorado, Arkansas, sites— Marking a first for U.S based refineries.

Let us have a look at Delek first. Delek is a downstream energy company, that began deploying Percepto UAS about three years ago to monitor and inspect different assets, it’s the kind of job that’s has typically done manually, it was said by Percepto’s Chief Commercial Officer Ariel Avitan. Who judged the value and importance of the drone flights by gathering data speedily converted into actionable reports. But after this, the deployments still required persons to watch, operate and monitor the drone in the limited technology potential.

Amazingly, 2022 is the year of BVLOS which is short for Beyond Visual Line of Sight. In this manner operating drones is crucial to unlocking a huge swath of commercial drone operations.

“Percepto’s end-to-end system helps our environmental, social, and governance goals to carry safe and reliable autonomous drones that can be controlled remotely while in cooperation with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration regulations,” Delek SVP, Business Transformation, Grigor Bambekov said, as per a news telecast about the approval. “By going in partnership with Percepto, Delek US is obtaining more cost-effective, productive, reliable and successful utilization of its assets through the next age of Industry 4.0 drone ecosystems.”

Percepto is named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions of 2021, which highlights efforts on using industrial robotics like drones for autonomous inspections. Percepto drones provide visual data management and analysis and also help in the inspection of the company’s facilities. With the help of the recent BVLOS approval, Delek US can easily operate drones without pilots to maintain the line of sight with such drones. Before this approval, an operator is located in a control room and manages and monitors pre-scheduled fully autonomous drone missions and various plans. That was quite a difficult and time taking process.

Delek runs refineries and different retail stores in the south and the southwest United States, and approximately 70 percent of its natural oil is from the Permian Basin with the third party along with Delek pipelines.

After BVLOS approval, now more companies are getting these approvals too for customers including Florida Power and Light and Verizon Skyward. This approval comes after NUAIR, which is the New York-based non-profit organization behind the FAA-designated New York UAS Test Site. NUAIR and Pablo signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build regulatory compliant commercial drone solutions beyond the visual line of sight.

Working Process Of Percepto Drones In U.S Oil Refineries

Percepto builds its drones consisting of the Percepto Sparrow and the Percepto Air Max. Each drone has various payloads and capabilities for doing multiple tasks. 

  • The Percepto’s Air max has a feature of an Optical Gas Imaging camera that can identify gas emissions and inspect complex industrial environments where the highest accuracy and reliability and durability are critical.
  • The Percepto’s Sparrow is the best suited for flying in multiple challenging environments and in 2020, it is the first drone that cleared level 5 hurricane testing efficiently due to its great ability to fly at a wind speed of up to 155mph.

In these drones, there is software involved with hardware and managed and operated by AIM (Autonomous Inspection and monitoring) platform to handle various tasks like systematizing visual data from third-party surveillance devices, providing an integrated view of all facilities, and detecting changes in drone-collected data.

BVLOS operations help businesses collect data more safely and cost-effectively than past traditional methods. Assistive technology keeps the pilot in command aware of intruding drones and facilitates them to take evasive operations.

“This approval to use autonomous drone technology is a big step forward towards hygienic and safer refineries within the oil and gas industry,” said Percepto CEO Dor Abuhasira.

Various Tasks of Percepto Drones In The Delek US Refineries

After the complete understanding of the BVLOS drone flights, now we are going to mention some examples of different tasks that Percepto drones are performing in the Delek US oil refineries. Such as:

BVLOS flight unclose the next generation of surveying applications. By allowing workers to operate drone-based sensors remotely, businesses can gather data from places they never could before. And everyone—workers, businesses, and the customers help—benefit from an overall safety improvement.