Drones For Pipeline Inspection With Thermal Diagnostics

drones for pipeline inspection

“Ease of mobility” is what makes the drone technology so sought after in today’s world. Oil and gas industries are among those who make use of this innovative technology, such as drones for pipeline inspection.


These industries exclusively utilize huge transportation systems like “Pipelines” to transport various products that are mostly in liquid form. 

Monitoring of the liquid material is one of the critical requirements, as any leaks in such pipelines may have adverse effects. Such effects may result in energy, economic and ecological loss. Drones help travel/cover the length of the pipeline, help identify any defects or leakages, so that main staff can visit the physical site in question and make necessary corrections. All this at a fraction of the cost when we compare it with the traditional inspection methods.

The traditional method of inspection involves manual/human intervention, and there are several challenges involved. And a standard camera does not distinguish imperfections to interior warmth protection and the getaways of media beneath the surface of the ground.

Due to the geographic placement of these pipelines which run into thousands of miles, industries face logistical challenges, as staff cannot inspect by foot or vehicular modes.

Monitoring using helicopters also have specific challenges. The technology used by the cameras (in the helicopters) can only capture specific angles and thermal imagery. Therefore, drones for pipeline monitoring becomes comparatively more comfortable.

mini drones

Using drones for pipeline inspection includes monitoring and surveillance, and the various types of inspection services used are:

  1. Drone for pipeline surveillance with thermal diagnostics – The temperature maintained in the pipelines are different from the outside/surrounding atmosphere. Thermal imaging is part of the drone functionality that is mainly used in inspecting the pipelines. This type of thermal detection is essential with pipelines which are underground, as it is usually difficult to detect heat.
  2. Inspections provided by UAV service providers – Drone operators (working with service providers who monitor using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) play a crucial role in this type of inspection. Depending on the requirement, an aerial survey/inspection is done by the operators and the requested data is delivered.
  3. Inspections using microdrones – Use of microdrones has proven to be much more advanced and beneficial, as they can man complex pipelines more efficiently and effectively. These also help in inspecting wind turbines and high voltage power lines, as they can withstand electrical and magnetic fields up to absolute magnitude.
    The administrator controlling the automaton from a safe place has a prompt diagram of the state of the pipeline and if distinguishing an imperfection, can center in detail and by and by check the region. Be that as it may, a customary camera for the unmistakable range finds just a small amount of the deformities, or records just territories with noticeable harm or breaks.

Top 3 Companies Offering Impeccable Drone Pipeline Inspection

At present, oil and gas pipelines, power lines, cell towers and so on require maintenance on a regular basis. Interestingly, this is made possible by the use of unmanned aerial systems in the form of drones. Below, we have mentioned 3 most popular companies offering drones for pipeline inspection at present.

1. Microdrones.com

Microdrones is known to offer fast, safe, reliable, as well as affordable inspection tools. Their unmanned aerial systems help to make all types of industrial inspections which are extremely safe as well as efficient.

Their drones are capable of performing accurate inspections within a span of several minutes only. Amongst the various services offered by this company, mention may be made of:

  • Oil pipeline inspection
  • Methane gas inspection
  • Gas pipeline inspection
  • Solar panel inspection
  • Cooling tower inspection
  • Power line or cable inspection
  • Bridge inspection
  • Railway or train line inspection
  • Wind turbine or windmill inspection
  • Critical infrastructure inspection

Users will be able to use Microdrones.com waypoint navigation mode to inspect structures independently thus helping to make a rapid yet comprehensive report. A Microdrones UAS will make it possible to inspect wind turbines and/or high-voltage power lines with relative ease.

Their systems have gone through rigorous testing and their electronic equipment is able to endure electrical fields up to as much as 380 kV while being unaffected by the magnetic fields.

2. Landpoint.net

Landpoint happens to be amongst the few accredited drone service providers which provide inspection services throughout the country. Their drones are capable of performing the following things:

1) Precision and quality. 3 to 5 cm precision. Numerous points to use for design, certifications, and calculations. Extremely high-resolution imagery.

2) Affordability and speed. They are able to collect numerous survey grade points every second. Substantially minimized inspection and collection time. Fast deliverable turn-around time.

3) Safety. Minimize time on-site. Collection takes place away from the physical components.

4) More than one sensor. Multi-spectral, near infrared, RGB, Thermal, Methane detection, LiDAR, and so on.

5) Access data and maps from almost any device out there.

6) 24 hour turnaround.

Landpoint’s certified phone operators are responsible for controlling the process of data analysis, capture, as well as archival from one end to another. The majority of the procedures performed with drones for pipeline surveillance are automatic and are obtainable in an extremely compact delivery method.

Workswell Thermal Imaging Systems

The innovative Workswell WIRIS Thermal Imaging Systems drones are quite light in weight, portable and also fully controllable by using a regular RC controller.

The system combines a thermal camera as well as a camera for perceptible spectrum. The service application allows the user to switch camera regimes remotely, record radiometric videotapes, and also make static images in the spectrum. The operator will be able to visualize objects under the UAV in real-time or he can also evaluate records so as to identify any damaged area.

As compared to other similar systems, the Workswell WIRIS Thermal Imaging System enables the operator to set the temperature range manually according to his own preferences. He will also be able to change the temperature settings while flying.

On top of this, the system is also equipped with a revolutionary GPS sensor for storing any location info on the drone’s position while producing a record. The system will be able to measure the temperature at the center and also in the local maximum and minimum. This function can be utilized for navigating drones given that the system shows the position of the largest convention issue automatically. Apart from this, the system is also fully calibrated.

In a nutshell, it can be rightly asserted that the entire Workswell WIRIS Thermal Imaging System is universal in nature and can likewise be used in other industrial applications as well apart from inspecting the pipelines.


Considering ease of mobility, availability of advanced imaging (thermal and holistic imagery) technology, logistical feasibility, availability of aerial/UAV surveillance for the time period needed, availability of sophisticated and highly advanced technology such as minidrones which have very less limitations, as compared to the traditional method and most importantly, given the cost efficiency, using drones have, in the recent past, proven to be more useful for inspection, monitoring and surveillance of pipelines.

Operations for Industries adopting such technologically advanced and cost-effective solutions would become more comfortable and eventually pave the way for growth and development. The combination of visual and thermo-graphed review utilizing automatons can find a progression of possibly unsafe issues previously they end up risky or monetarily requesting. Also, the entire framework is widespread and can likewise be utilized in a progression of other modern applications, not just on the review of pipelines.