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DJI lands partnership with Shell Oil Company to test new drone tech

DJI drones have landed in the hands of several high profile companies or users over the past few years. And one of those major partnerships is with one of the world’s ten largest oil companies: Shell Oil Company.

The Chinese drone maker is partnering with Shell to not just test, but create and deploy new types of DJI drone tech in an effort to “improve efficiency and worker safety during industrial inspections and emergency incident response.”

That new tech includes a product features called AI Spot-Check, which DJI says will make it easier and safer to use drones for critical infrastructure inspections. The partnership also means Shell employees will develop and test advanced drone solutions for products like the DJI Matrice 300 RTK, which allows workers to automate inspections of critical infrastructure like flare tips and floating roof tanks — tasks which are otherwise difficult to conduct from ground level.

While the partnership is new in a way, Shell Deer Park is no stranger to drones. The team in Deer Park has been using DJI drones since 2016 for similar work. The energy sector has long been considered the largest industry within the commercial drone market as oil and gas companies use drones to inspect tanks, pipelines, well pads and flare stacks.

The new set of tests under the DJI and Shell Oil partnership are being conducted at Shell’s Deer Park Manufacturing Complex. The massive refinery, about 20 miles outside of Houston, Texas, is one of Shell’s most important assets given its location near major crude oil and products pipelines as well as extensive dock facilities. The refinery covers 2,300 acres and operates 24 hours a day

“As one of the world’s largest energy companies, Shell has provided us with valuable insight into the unique challenges of conducting aerial inspections at one of its largest facilities where infrastructure exceeds the height of 250 feet off the ground,” said Cynthia Huang, Director of Business Development at DJI.

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