The Visual intelligence blog
Infrastructure Inspection is Broken in 2019
Karan Chawla
CTO | Resolute Labs

Our Energy Infrastructure
Our global demand for energy is constantly increasing but the infrastructure we use to transport it is aging and poorly maintained. When our energy infrastructure fails, the consequences can be catastrophic. We lose access to the energy that we depend on for everyday life and we face gas explosions, oil leaks, or deadly wildfires as a result.

There are about 2.5 million miles of pipelines in the United States of which there are about 72,000 miles of crude oil lines that connect regional markets. As massive new projects continue to generate news, the existing infrastructure that's hidden beneath our feet continues to be problematic on a daily basis. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) defines a pipeline incident as one that may involve any of the following:

  1. Fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization.
  2. $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 dollars.
  3. Highly volatile liquid releases of 5 barrels or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more.
  4. Liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion.

Since 2010, there have been 4,215 pipeline incidents resulting in 100 reported fatalities, 470 injuries, and property damage exceeding $3.4 billion. According to PHMSA, about 2 pipeline related incidents occur everyday. These pipeline incidents are caused by numerous factors, with the top three causes being excavation damage, equipment failure, and pipeline corrosion.

The Current State of Aerial Inspection
As can be seen in the figure above, excavation damage is one of the major causes of pipeline incidents in the country. The pipeline industry currently relies on aerial and ground inspection to prevent possible excavation damage to the infrastructure.

Aerial inspection is carried out using traditional patrols which includes pilots flying over the pipelines and visually inspecting the infrastructure for suspicious activity. Aerial inspection has not changed in over 75 years, and the current state of inspection is unacceptable. Pilots are multitasking; they are flying miles of complex infrastructure while looking looking for threats. They are taking down notes mid-flight, and there is no digital accountability for each inspection. Finally, after 2 weeks later pipeline operators receive static reports. Without additional data, pipeline operators are forced to inspect all reports wasting resources on false alarms and incomplete information.
The Birth of Resolute Labs
Resolute Labs was born out of the frustration with these accidents and the current state of inspection in our country. We are helping our customers build digital accountability and transparency with their teams and regulators on Right of Way (ROW) construction and maintenance. It's helping them understand which areas are prone to landslides or spreading noxious weeds so that they can be proactive in fixing these before they become a costly mistake. Not only that, it's helping them track construction and third party excavation over time using our 4D insights. How we're different is that we are taking a brand new approach by providing on demand 4D insights, delivered straight through a web application. These are aided by FAA friendly sensors deployed on conventional aircrafts and an industry specific AI which multiplies the value of the data collected on these aerial patrols, so that our customers can focus on solving real problems.

Our mission at Resolute Labs is to increase safety by providing on-demand 4D insights to your infrastructure.

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