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ABB, Zurich, Switzerland, has launched the HoverGuard drone, the latest addition to the company’s Ability Mobile Gas Leak Detection System. HoverGuard Ability detects, quantifies and maps leaks up to 100 meters from natural gas distribution and transmission pipelines, gathering lines, storage facilities, and other potential sources quickly, safely, and reliably. It automatically generates comprehensive digital reports that summarize results and can be shared in minutes after a survey.

According to the company, this cloud-connected, multi-gas solution is also the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based system to continuously quantify the three most important greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor) while flying. The extremely fast response and high precision of the analyzer allows scientists and researchers to reliably quantify greenhouse gas fluxes, which provides important information when studying the complex environmental processes affecting climate and pollution.



HoverGuard survey map generated after field investigation of pipeline.


Patented cavity enhanced laser absorption spectroscopy detects methane with a sensitivity more than 1,000 times higher and over 10 times faster than conventional leak detection tools. This sensitivity and speed allows HoverGuard to detect leaks while flying at altitudes of 40 meters, or higher, and at speeds greater than 88 km/h. It can cover 10-15 times more land area per minute by operating on a low-cost commercial UAV capable of carrying a payload of 3 kg.

HoverGuard complements ABB’s existing gas leak detection offering with the vehicle-based MobileGuard, hand-held MicroGuard, and stationary EverGuard (to be launched later in 2021). Although are designed to operate independently. combining them provides a comprehensive platform to detect, map, and quantify leaks with unprecedented speed, reliability and accuracy throughout the entire natural gas infrastructure, including upstream, midstream, downstream, and gas utilities.

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