SkyX, a developer of long-range unmanned aerial monitoring technologies, has announced the successful delivery and installation of its first production xStation, a unit that remotely recharges SkyX drones during missions.
The xStation is a rugged, all-metal piece of engineering designed to allow the SkyOne drone to remotely recharge while monitoring long-range infrastructure, then continue its mission. By installing multiple xStations along a route, SkyOne can monitor assets like oil and gas pipelines or railroad tracks that stretch hundreds – even thousands – of kilometres.
“I’m thrilled to see this successful milestone in the SkyX journey,” says company CEO and founder Didi Horn. “I’m particularly proud because this unit was invented by our team. From conception to testing to patenting – this is a proprietary SkyX product. It is extremely exciting to see our product coming together as a full service to enhance the efficiency and safety of the oil and gas industry.”
In combination with the SkyOne Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft – which transitions to forward flight to take advantage of the efficiency of its lifting wing – the xStation means SkyX can provide a solution for long-range infrastructure monitoring and data acquisition. The Sky OS software ties everything together.
For clients, xStations are installed along the route. When algorithms tell SkyOne it’s getting close to recharge time, the aircraft autonomously seeks out the next xStation instead of having to return to home base. The clamshell-like station roof opens automatically; SkyOne then transitions to vertical mode and descends like a helicopter onto the xStation landing pad. The roof closes, providing safe harbour while SkyOne recharges and performs a complete systems check before continuing on its mission.
The complex proprietary engineering behind the xStation was developed completely in-house. SkyX proved the concept with a scaled-down xStation and then pushed ahead to ensure the production xStation is as efficient and robust as possible, built for demanding conditions in a wide range of climates. For the production models, SkyX has partnered with Canadian automated solutions firm CMP.