How UAV Laser Methane Detection Conduct Natural Gas Pipeline Inspection?

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with laser methane detection offer the advantages of portability, speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, making them the ideal choice for natural gas pipeline inspections. By utilizing ground station software for flight path planning, UAVs can easily conduct mid to long-range pipeline inspections. During inspections, real-time monitoring of the current inspection status and methane measurement data is possible. In the event of a pipeline leak, terminal equipment automatically triggers an alarm and records data (time, coordinates, leak concentration, on-site photos) for later generation of inspection reports.

Natural gas pipeline inspections often require traversing various complex geographical environments. Using UAVs for corridor inspections can overcome terrain difficulties and effectively cover areas where long-distance pipelines traverse. By ensuring pipeline operation from a high-altitude perspective, construction machinery, unauthorized excavations, and other safety hazards can be promptly identified.

Typical Challenges in Natural Gas Pipeline Inspections:

1.Complex environments;

2.High altitude or complex urban environments, making traditional ground-based methods ineffective;

3.Long distances;

4.Rapid development in the petroleum and petrochemical industries results in long pipeline lengths per oil transmission department and extensive coverage;

5.Large workforce requirements;

6.Traditional manual inspections require significant human and material resources to complete high-frequency inspections;

7.Loose sealing rings or skin damage during pipeline operation can cause significant gas leaks, leading to serious safety accidents, such as explosions, posing great risks to safety production and transportation.

The CH-4 laser methane detector is a lightweight natural gas leak inspection payload. This payload adopts Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectroscopy (TDLAS) technology to detect methane (CH4) components in the air. Integrated into the UAV system, it achieves non-contact detection. The payload also integrates visible light sensors and laser rangefinders, enabling visual inspections and real-time accurate positioning of leak coordinates. PURWAY-CH-4 has become a safe, efficient, and precise productivity tool in the process of natural gas inspection, greatly reducing the workload of inspection personnel.

Detection Principle:

The UAV flies above the pipeline, and the three-axis stabilized gimbal maintains the laser irradiation direction perpendicular to the ground. The scanning controller controls the gimbal’s rotation, and the laser irradiation on the ground forms a helical projection, covering a certain width (approximately 3~10m). As a result, the UAV can cover the required inspection range in a single flight, compensating for flight position errors and capturing leak gas clouds deviating from the pipeline, thereby improving the success rate and efficiency of real-time detection.

Software Functionality:

  1. Webpage login page: The software can call and select map types, and the backend monitors methane data in real-time. It statistically analyzes the number of abnormal points and supports querying historical records.
  2. APP: During the inspection process, real-time UAV status and methane measurement data can be viewed. In the event of a pipeline leak, terminal equipment automatically triggers an alarm and records data (time, coordinates, leak concentration, on-site photos) for later generation of inspection reports. Open the Android desktop icon to enter the laser methane app login interface.

Application Case:

An example of typical application illustrates the use of UAVs equipped with laser methane detector in natural gas pipeline inspections. For instance, during inspections of long-distance pipelines traversing areas, UAVs can easily cover complex terrain and promptly identify safety hazards such as construction machinery or unauthorized excavations from a high-altitude perspective. Meanwhile, its efficient inspection process and accurate data recording provide essential support for ensuring the safe operation of pipelines.


UAVs equipped with laser methane detectors have significant advantages and application prospects in natural gas pipeline inspections. Their portability, speed, efficiency, and low cost make them the preferred choice in the industry, playing an important role in improving inspection efficiency and ensuring pipeline safety. With the continuous development and application of technology, it is believed that UAVs equipped with laser methane detectors will play an increasingly important role in the field of natural gas pipeline inspections, providing stronger support for the industry’s safety production and sustainable development.

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