SPE Online Education
Emerging Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) Technology for Oil and Gas Industry
Recorded On: 09/27/2016
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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.
This webinar is categorized under the Health, Safety, and Environment discipline.
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Dr. Balaji Ramachandran
Geomatics Program, Nicholls
Dr. Ramachandran, received his Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from Bangalore University, India in 1992. He worked in a post-graduate institution as research assistant in a UN funded sustainable development project. He decided to pursue his graduate studies in United States. He received his Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering and Sciences with a concentration in Hydrologic Sciences from University of Florida in 1997. He also received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering in 2003 from University of Florida. He has two concentrations in Computer & Information Science & Engineering and Urban & Regional Planning. He worked as a research engineer for a year at Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation lab, University of Central Florida.
He joined the Geomatics Program, Department of Applied Sciences at Nicholls in Aug of 2004. Ramachandran's areas of interest include Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Remote Sensing, UAS, and Hydrographic Surveying, Laser Scanning, Spatial Data Mining, Mobile and Pervasive Computing, Wearable Computing, Data Fusion, Decision Support Systems, and Environmental Planning. His research is usually inter-disciplinary in nature and pioneers in adoption of Geospatial technologies in different disciplines.
His research Drishti, a wireless pedestrian navigation system for the blind and disabled, augments contextual information to the visually impaired and computes optimized routes based on user preference, temporal constraints, and discovered dynamic obstacles. Notable media coverage was an article in the Technology Section of the New York Times that appeared on October 17, 2002. The above work is applied for patent under the title “Pedestrian navigation and spatial relation device” and is currently pending (PGPUB# 20050060088).
In the past ten years, Ramachandran is responsible for developing the Geomatics program at Nicholls. He has been awarded the Contractor's Educational Trust Fund Super Endowed Professorship and T Baker Smith Endowed Professorship for his efforts in helping build this new program. He also directs the state of the art Geospatial Technology Center at Nicholls. He is currently managing several projects on GIS applications, datawarehousing of regional GIS datasets, monitoring coastal erosion and subsidence using GNSS, and Internet based GIS applications. He is also working on emerging technologies unmanned aerial systems for mapping barrier islands, monitoring critical infrastructure, Oil and Gas related industries and terrestrial laser scanning for coastal erosion in the State of Louisiana. He is also founding member of the Pelican Chapter (Louisiana) of AUVSI.
Ramachandran has received research and equipment grants totaling $ 3,000,000 to date. He is currently funded (or has received funding from) by Delta Regional Authority, Homeland Security Department of Defense, Microsoft Corporation, Trimble Navigation Ltd, Navigation Electronics Inc., Louisiana Board of Regents (BoR), Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government, Lafourche Parish Government, British Petroleum, SHELL, Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation, Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol, Suwannee River Water Management District, Florida Division of Forestry, Nicholls Research Council, and School of Forest Resources and Conservation University of Florida.
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