Black Swift Technologies

Custom engineering exploring next level UAS capabilities.

About Black Swift Technologies

Based in Boulder, CO and founded in 2011, Black Swift Technologies is recognized for delivering reliable, robust, and highly accurate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) capable of flying scientific payloads in demanding atmospheric environments (high-altitude, arctic, desert, corrosive particulates, and strong turbulence). Its purpose-built scientific aerial platforms are used around the globe for a variety of specialized atmospheric research missions in extreme conditions, including monitoring and assessing wildland fires, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. We've developed advanced systems enabling machine learning and machine vision for applications like preventative maintenance and automated remote landing with collision avoidance. Our team of industry leading experts continue to develop cutting edge capabilities that push the possibilities of unmanned aircraft systems.

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Problem statement

Methane, a greenhouse gas 25x more potent than carbon dioxide, strongly contributes to global warming and degrades air quality. Methane leaks occur in both oil and gas production and distribution infrastructure. Colorado is a major oil and gas producer and the industry is an important source of jobs and economic growth in our state. Colorado is also considered the national leader in policy to control methane emissions. Methane emissions is a high profile issue in Colorado and a major priority for both industry and regulators alike. 

Over the past 6 years, Black Swift Technologies (BST) has developed unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and sensor technologies that put the company in the position to meet a critical unmet need in the Oil and Gas production and regulatory industries; the capability to monitor 100 well sites for methane leaks in a single day, inexpensively, with  extraordinarily high sensitivity and precise geolocation. The cost per wellsite for a survey with this technology is less than $35, compared with a $500+ price for the current gold-standard approaches to methane leak detection.

Traction information

We've been profitable since 2016 without any outside investment to date and are looking to expand upon this success. Our aircraft are some of the very few that have been approved for beyond line-of-sight flights, having done so for flights to survey volcanoes with the USGS. This requires operations up to 25 miles away and 7000' up from the takeoff point in what can be 50 kt winds. This has proven our abilities to collect trace gas data over large distances, and during a wide variety of wether conditions. For the commercial application of methane emission detection and characterization, we've demonstrated the system and processing capabilities to a mid-level oil and gas producer and are working on an initial contract.

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