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Customer story


Inspection of gas pipelines by drone

Thyssengas is a gas transport network operator with a pipeline network of around 4,200 km in Germany. Since 2017, Thyssengas has been working on drone-based route monitoring - starting at that time in cooperation with DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) and Deutsche Telekom - to increase the quality of network monitoring and reduce emissions and costs compared to helicopter flying.

Droniq supports this with an LTE modem (HOD4track) as well as air situational awareness of relevant air traffic in the vicinity.

At a glance

Regular flight operations
0 km
Gas pipelines
Air situation
0 m
Flight altitude

The goal

Network operational safety is the be-all and end-all for Thyssengas. This safety is ensured, among other things, by regular helicopter flights along the pipeline routes. This enables hazards such as unannounced construction activities along the route to be identified at an early stage. This is a time-consuming and cost-intensive task, which is sometimes associated with considerable noise pollution for local residents. Increasingly, VTOL drones optimized for long-range flight are to be used for image and video monitoring for pipeline inspection.

The implementation

In addition to the use of drones for surveying during the planning and realization of natural gas pipelines, Thyssengas plans to monitor large parts of its network in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony with drones by 2025. Thyssengas is currently using a VTOL aircraft to fly route sections between 70 and 150 km in BVLOS operation at an altitude of approx. 100 m, predominantly in suburban and rural areas. The photos and videos taken during the drone flight are analyzed with the help of artificial intelligence. This will enable automated detection of disturbances affecting the route (e.g., dredging activities, debris). With the UTM service, Droniq supports the successful establishment of safe regular flight operations.

Our contribution

Thyssengas is a long-standing partner of Droniq and the first customer with whom the flying of gas pipelines by drone was tested even before Droniq GmbH was founded. To ensure that the controller of the Thyssengas drone always had an up-to-date picture of the air traffic in the vicinity, Droniq equipped the drone with a HOD4track - a small LTE modem that sent its position to the UTM (UAS Traffic Management System) of DFS every second via the Deutsche Telekom mobile network. A web-based display showed the drone pilot this position as well as the position data of relevant air traffic in the vicinity.

Products used

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In our next edition of DRONIQlive on Thu, 23.05.2024 at 7 pm, we will take a closer look at this topic. We look forward to your participation!