Flying High: Aramcons soar at Tuwaiq Drone Challenge
“Well-7” team takes third place and prize of SR200,000 at Riyadh competition.
Aramco’s Inspection Department won third place in the prestigious Tuwaiq Drone Challenge, which concluded in Riyadh at the Tuwaiq Academy at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. Aramco’s team, named “Well-7” after the company’s first discovery of oil in 1938, accepted the third place prize of SR200,000 at the closing ceremony on Oct. 6.
There were 28 contenders competing to use drone technology to resolve a set of key challenges that were proposed by event strategic sponsors; namely NEOM, Aramco, the Ministry of Transport & Logistic Services, Green Riyadh, and the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology.
The competition was overseen by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) to increase awareness on drone technology, empower and motivate the use of drones for a sustainable world.
The event was sponsored by Aramco as one of the strategic partners and the Inspection Department represented Aramco in the event advisory and judging committees. It included a seven-day intensive bootcamp training program by subject matter experts, followed by a three-day countdown hackathon for participating teams to come up with innovative solutions to current challenges.
The Well-7 team’s innovative drone project is called “Search and Rescue Drone – Mongth. The drone is integrated in a capsule and distributed in major urban areas to support safe evacuation and to search for trapped people in case of fires in high-rise buildings using integrated advanced sensing and artificial intelligence (AI) recognition capabilities. This health, safety, security and environment application has the potential to be implemented throughout the Kingdom, including at NEOM, King Abdullah Economic City, Qiddiyah, as well as at Aramco offices and facilities.
Aramco’s participation underscores how the company has pioneered the latest drone technology in its business operations to enhance safety, improve reliability and optimize resources. Aramco’s Inspection Department, for instance, utilizes robotics and drones to inspect tanks, flare stacks, and elevated structures safely and efficiently, without the risk and cost of scaffolding and human inspection teams working at significant heights.
In its operations, Aramco uses drones for a variety of purposes, including external and internal visual, thermal and thickness measurement inspections, aerial mapping, security surveillance, emergency response, and gas leak detection. Aramco’s use of drones shows how seriously Aramco takes its mission of protecting its people and assets, as well as protecting the environment by reducing carbon emissions. This mission is executed by trained and certified drone pilots to perform the required missions that are also accessible from our 4IR Center, which explores new and emerging innovative technologies, in line with our Digital Transformation Program.
The Inspection Department is scaling up the deployment of cutting-edge and disruptive drones and robotics technologies to enhance operations and realize benefits. In addition, the department is developing the next generation of autonomous and AI powered drones and robots to support remote unmanned operations.