AeroVision Canada, an aerial asset inspection company, is sending its drones to Ecuador to inspect the damage caused by a recent earthquake. For this operation, the Halifax-based company will partner with Waterford Energy Services, a Canadian energy services company specialising in engineering and technical services.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador on 16 April killed more than 650 people, of which four were Canadians, apart from causing a lot of damage to the infrastructure. These drones will now provide services such as inspection, survey mapping and 3D modelling of the major damage caused to infrastructure by this earthquake.
The aim is to provide a disaster-relief test using high-end technology. Trevor Bergmann, AeroVision's general manager, said: "I feel it's incumbent on us to use the technology for better reasons than just trying to make a quick buck. It's important to show that drones can be used for good."
Bergmann along with his company's two drone pilots and an engineer from Waterford will visit the northern coast of Ecuador for 10 days. They would fly from the Halifax airport today (30 April) and upon reaching would join the other disaster-relief teams from Canada.
"I'd say for the last 36 hours, it's been a rapid, rapid logistical plan, I guess if we can call it one, to try to make flights happen, get the gear ready to go," Bergmann said.
Bergmann added that both the companies had a lot of valuable oil and gas experience between them and that one of their jobs in Ecuador was in fact related to this. Their drone's high -resolution cameras were required to look into a liquid natural gas plant.
Blair MacDougall, president of Waterford Energy Services, said while this was the first time his company was involved in a disaster-relief operation, it was not the first time they had partnered with AeroVision. He said they had teamed up "for quite some time" for undertaking industrial oil and gas inspections, according to CBC News, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
MacDougall added that his company would be bearing the transportation expenses. "It's just the right thing to do. It's just kind of ironic that with the state of the oil and gas industry, we're able to get involved with something like this so I'm really excited, really pleased," he added.