Autonomous Drone Capable of Performing Ultrasonic Thickness (UT) Measurement at Height


Currently at PETRONAS’s upstream and downstream operations, UT measurements at height are performed manually on structures where UT magnetic crawler does not have access due to obstructions. Abseiling equipment and scaffold are used to raise inspectors at height to perform these UT measurements. Therefore, PETRONAS is exploring the use of drone to improve delivery of work and reduce the risk associated to work-at-height.
By having this technology, PETRONAS can reduce health, safety and environment (HSE) hazards and risks expose to the personnel and the cost associated to time and contracting to mobilize the process. However, there are technological limitations with current drone technologies to perform such application.


Winner: Al-Khawarizmi from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
The Challenge is crafted specially for local universities to harness the collaboration between PETRONAS and the institutions of higher learning in Malaysia.
Drones have vast application in the oil & gas industry to potentially improve the productivity and minimise human exposure to hazardous situation. In the case of UT measurement, drones can be applied to far reaching areas without the use of scaffolding which resulted in minimum human intervention hence accelerating the measurement process and data quality. PETRONAS is exploring means to push the advancement of this application by having an autonomous capability to the drone while doing UT measurement. By having this technology, PETRONAS can set a high level of operational excellence and compliance to HSE standards.
The Challenge had received a total of 17 proposals from 12 higher learning institutions in Malaysia. The proposals went through a series of evaluation that resulted to a shortlisting of five (5) best proposals. The finalists were then given assistance in the form of drone and financial aid to demonstrate their capability during the Obstacle Course event.

Autonomous Drone Capable of Performing Ultrasonic Thickness (UT) Measurement at Height

Al-Khawarizmi team from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) was announced the winner after scoring the highest marks during the Obstacle Course event in PETRONAS Research facility. Their programming skills were tested and excelled to ensure the drone achieves stability and capable of maneuvering the obstructions.
PETRONAS applauds Al-Khawarizmi for their achievement and PETRONAS will collaborate with the winner for further development to mature this into a scalable solution for actual environment.  Our heartiest gratitude to the teams especially the student who participated. We are indeed delighted to see the breadth of young talents in Malaysia and certainly looking forward to your participation in the next PETRONAS Technology Challenge.