Lighter Than Air Surveillance Drone (LTASD)

Lead Participant: Firma Engineering Limited


Many worldwide nuclear and oil & gas facilities require the inspection of large, difficult to access chambers to understand: plant layout versus design records; plant condition; plant inventory; and plant integrity. By re-evaluating the UAV concept, FIRMA Engineering Ltd, partnering with the University of Sheffield believes that a solution to the inspection problem is feasible with the use of a deployable/retrievable ‘Lighter Than Air Surveillance Drone’ (LTASD) technology. This new tool will allow more detailed wider coverage inspections to be undertaken. Using innovative deployment, control and recovery technologies, FIRMA Engineering Ltd will develop a UAV device which is deployable through restrictive access ports. This device will offer the following advantages: easily deployable, retrievable and disposable; extended flight times, hours versus minutes; low cost in comparison to existing methods, low risk of causing infrastructure damage and airborne contamination. It is believed that using this approach will offer a step change in the maintenance, life extension and decommissioning of facilities in the energy market.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Firma Engineering Limited, NOTTINGHAM £70,102 £ 49,000


University of Sheffield, United Kingdom £30,000 £ 30,000


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