In a first, FAA approves BVLOS drones at Delek US refineries

Percepto Air Mobile drone bvlos faa

Percepto, whose autonomous inspection platform AIM was named one of 100 Best Inventions of 2021 by Time magazine, has received the green light from the FAA for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations at Delek US Holdings’ refineries in Texas and Arkansas.

The approval makes Delek US’s refineries the first to receive such a permit, and one of the first among US energy companies as well. Meanwhile, for Percepto, the BVLOS operational approval is one of the many received by its customers, including Florida Power & Light, Verizon Skyward, and others at industrial sites in Australia, Italy, Spain, Norway, Portugal, and Israel.

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The permit allows Delek US to operate its drones fully autonomously and remotely from a control room. The team would be able to automate a select set of day-to-day operations, maintenance, security, and special projects tasks, keeping workers safe with preemptive risk notifications and mitigation services. Autonomous aerial surveillance, monitoring, and inspection of assets, equipment, machinery, materials, and supplies would also be possible in compliance with environmental and safety regulations.

Congratulating Delek US for implementing novel procedures within an industry that has been seeking new solutions to old problems, Percepto CEO Dor Abuhasira remarks:

This approval to use autonomous drone technology is a huge step forward toward cleaner and safer refineries within the oil and gas industry.

Stressing that the drone-in-a-box solution provider’s autonomous inspection & monitoring (AIM) platform will collate visual data from all third-party surveillance devices on the Texas and Arkansas sites to provide a unified view of the entire facility, Delek SVP of business transformation, Grigor Bambekov, adds:

Percepto’s end-to-end system supports our environmental, social, and governance goals to deliver safe and reliable autonomous drones that can be operated remotely while in compliance with US FAA regulations. By working in partnership with Percepto, Delek US is gaining more effective, efficient, reliable, and profitable utilization of its assets through the next generation of Industry 4.0 drone ecosystems.

Read more: Chevron is buying autonomous drones for oil field monitoring

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