In 2022, the Aviation Team at Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) strengthened their partnerships with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) providers and stakeholders worldwide through regular updates and UAV exercises. The team held exercises in Singapore and the UK, aiming to test approved supplier capabilities and safe working practices and better understand the limitations of UAV technology and the regulatory frameworks.
In Singapore, the team conducted a shoreline survey at the Southern Islands using the DJI Matrice 30T model to test Enhanced Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) capabilities and identify its limitations. As part of their testing, they evaluated the real-time interaction between the field team and EOC using live-stream video while also assessing the capabilities of the infrared sensor. Despite experiencing intermittent loss of 4G signal, the team found the trial dashboard interface to be relatively interactive and effective flight time was 25 minutes before returning to the home position.
Dashboard View of EVLOS Track
In the UK, despite adverse weather conditions, the team successfully conducted a UAV survey of Bournemouth Beach to capture shoreline images at 1cm resolution, which, when processed, could identify plastic pollution. They also tested how well the UAVs could stream video footage from the field and captured still images of the shorelines at various altitudes and resolutions in Calshot and Weston Shore Surveys.
DJI M300 High-Resolution Images
From these exercises, the team discovered that changing lighting conditions throughout the day could affect the resolution and overall appearance of the images and that UAVs and cameras can capture high-resolution images up to speeds of 10ms. Safety is always the main priority, whatever the task and the team found OSRL's UAV providers set a high standard for their safety culture and safe work systems. The team also discovered that seagulls do not like UAVs!
Good Light versus Poor Light Conditions
In 2023, the team plans to hold further UAV exercises in the UK & Singapore to further understand OSRL’s UAV provider's capabilities. These activities will include offshore surveys, primarily focusing on tethered drones and improvements in sensor technology. They will also commission a UAV shoreline survey for OSRL members and further develop a UAV strategy document to enhance support for OSRL Members over the next five years.
If you wish to use a UAV for OSRL activities, please contact the Aviation team with any questions.