A Skygauge Robotics industrial inspection drone

Skygauge Inspection Drones Aim to Make Industrial Sites Safer

July 7, 2020
Inspection robotics emerging as a solution after COVID-19 reopening.

COVID-19 has forced companies to adapt to a new reality as businesses reopen. This change has been the most challenging for industrial work sites. Traditionally conservative in adopting new technology, industrial work sites are now under pressure to innovate.

Routine inspections are a must at industrial facilities to ensure safety. The importance of this was underscored in late May, when a faulty storage tank leaked 20,000 tonnes of diesel into a river in Russia, resulting in an emergency. 

With increased pressure to reduce costs, minimize human involvement and make work safer, inspection robotics has emerged as the solution. Regulatory bodies are accommodating increased drone usage. Skygauge Robotics is part of the push to decrease worker time on site. The Canadian startup uses drones to perform a wide range of industrial inspections.

While most drones only perform surface visual inspections with cameras, the Skygauge goes beyond. Its design allows it to contact pipes, pressure vessels and storage containers to detect cracks beneath the surface with sensors. Such inspections are currently expensive and time-consuming because they are performed by workers on ropes and scaffolding. Using the Skygauge, two inspectors can complete a two-week job in two days, reducing time on site by 80%, says the company. 

Skygauge is currently engaged with over 100 potential customers and has demos lined up with 10 Fortune-500 global companies. The startup is working with inspectors, pilots and industrial facilities to test the technology and bring it to market. 

“Our goal is to get people out of dangerous environments and the need for this has never been greater because of COVID-19,” said CEO and co-founder of Skygauge Robotics, Nikita Iliushkin.

The company is now opening up pre-orders for its commercial launch in 2021. So far, the company has received US$400,000 in pre-seed funding and is getting ready for a larger round to respond to the demand for more pilot projects and commercial deployments.

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