Era Group has signed an agreement with Total Safety that will extend the former’s helicopter transport services into the provision of unmanned air vehicles for the US market.
UAVs with relevant payloads will be offered by the team for applications such as inspection, surveying, mapping and imagery collection, and will see teams of two to three people offer a tailored UAV.
Total says that in accordance with the customer’s and Federal Aviation Administration’s requirements, a team consisting of aviation, safety and inspection personnel will use a customised UAV with the appropriate sensors and software to collect imagery. This can include high-definition and thermal imaging, forward-looking infrared, light detection radar, and 3D mapping.
Total brings its unmanned aerial inspection expertise, while Era will provide its rotary-wing and sensor experience, primarily from providing rotorcraft transport services to the oil and gas industry.
“This collaboration combines world-class rotary-wing experience and safety services leadership to provide an unparalleled offering to a diverse customer base,” the companies say.
Total Safety was one of the first to receive authorisation from the FAA in February 2015 to provide commercial UAV services. It originally deployed UAVs to inspect flare stacks that reach very high temperatures, negating the need for human intervention in a dangerous operating environment.
The company says it has since expanded this business to also offer other types of surveillance and inspection.
It adds that the teaming with Era will allow UAV operations to be expanded into environments including chemical plants, refineries, pipelines, tank batteries, and drilling and production sites, as well as introducing services for emergency response and disaster relief.
“UAVs provide one of the most important technological breakthroughs we have seen in compliance and safety, because remote aerial systems allow us to get close to potentially dangerous environments without endangering people and they allow us to do it less expensively than ever before,” Darrell Whitley, Total Safety’s senior vice-president of business development, says.
“Plus, UAVs can dramatically enhance the data obtained from traditional inspections, surveys, mapping and imagery efforts for compliance.”