UAS maker AeroVironment’s Puma AE UAS is used by BP at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. On June 10, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it will permit energy company BP and unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment to fly a Puma AE UAS for aerial surveys in Alaska. It marked the first time FAA authorized a commercial UAS operation over land. FAA issued a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization to survey BP pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the largest oilfield in the United States. AeroVironment performed the first flight for BP on June 8, 2014. The Puma AE is a small, hand-launched UAS that is nearly five feet long and has a wingspan of nine feet. Using the information generated by the Puma’s sensors, BP hopes to target maintenance activities on specific roads and infrastructure, which will save time and support safety and operational reliability goals.
Earth imagery’s unparalleled insights and transparency are elevating our understanding of today’s interconnected world. The following pages highlight a few of the many ways Earth observation chronicled some of 2014’s noteworthy events and interesting phenomena.