PETRONAS Technology Challenge 6: Autonomous Drone Capable of Performing Ultrasonic Thickness (UT) Measurement at Height


PETRONAS is seeking for an innovative solution to develop an autonomous drone capable of performing ultrasonic-thickness (UT) inspection at height. The drone technologies developed as a results of this challenge will be used to further enhance PETRONAS drone technologies which will be used in the oil & gas industry, specifically in PETRONAS offshore and onshore facilities.

In fulfilling such expectations, proposed solutions should meet the following requirements:

  • Drone capable of conducting the UT measurement at height in A-scan and B-scan modes. The use of actual UT probe is not required here. It is sufficient to mount the drone with a rod fixed with a limit switch at one end and demonstrate that a stable contact of 5 seconds between the switch and the identified thickness monitoring location (TML) is achieved.
  • Software comes in with the GUI that is easily understood and operated.
  • Drone capable of manoeuvring in environment with obstacles.
  • Complete with fail-safe systems to ensure safety of the operators and surrounding structures.

Proposals shall include relevant description on the proposed technology meeting the challenge minimum technical requirements.



  • Participant must submit the proposals by 1st March 2019.
  • Participant must ensure no confidential information is submitted in the proposal at this stage.
  • The challenge is limited to students registered with the institution of higher learning in Malaysia.
  • The submitter must therefore gain the necessary approval from the respective institutions to participate and gather the team to support the proposal
  • Selected proposals will be contacted by the PETRONAS Technology Challenge for University Committee for further clarification after the initial screening.
  • Selected proposals will be called for a pitching session in PETRONAS to present the technology proposal together with the deployment plan before being shortlisted
  • All proposals shall be submitted to
  • The proposal should include basic requirements as stipulated here.
  • By submitting any technology proposal or any other materials howsoever (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Submissions”) you agree to be bounded by the Official Rules in addition to the terms and conditions relating to the use of this website. You are responsible for reading and understanding the Official Rules.


The shortlisted team will have the opportunity to produce the prototype using PETRONAS supplied – INTEL® AERO Ready to Fly drone with additional resource of RM 5,000 per team. The team will be allowed to enhance the software and hardware of the drone to optimise the performance and capability of the drone for a period of five (5) months. The prototype will then go through the obstacle course designed by PETRONAS. Each of the prototype will be given due evaluation based on the performance.


The winning team will have the opportunity to conduct further research and development for enhancement and subsequently pilot the proposed solution at designated asset in PETRONAS. Upon success, there will be an opportunity to replicate the solutions to other PETRONAS designated assets.

An opportunity to see your solution in action and collect valuable performance data from the deployment!


Currently in PETRONAS’s upstream and downstream operations, UT measurements at height are performed manually on structures where UT magnetic crawler does not have access due to obstructions. Abseiling equipment and scaffold are used to raise inspectors at height to perform these UT measurements. Therefore, PETRONAS is exploring the use of drone to improve delivery of work and reduce the risk associated to work-at-height.

By having this technology, PETRONAS can reduce health, safety and environment (HSE) hazards and risks expose to the personnel and the cost associated to time and contracting to mobilize the process. However, there are technological limitations with current drone technologies to perform such application.

We are now calling for proposals from the local institutions of higher learning to work on the best solution to meet PETRONAS’s standards and requirements.


PETRONAS invites proposals with the following criteria:


  1. Meets all requirements stated in the “REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL DESCRIPTION” section.
  2. Meets all international safety standards.


The system Technology Readiness Level (“TRL”) must meet at least TRL 2 (refer to API 17 N Technology Readiness Level).
*Note: As per API 17 N Scale, TRL 2 is defined as Validated Concept (Application formulated)


The review of all submissions will be handled by PETRONAS. PETRONAS reserves the sole and absolute right and discretion to select the shortlisted respondents and the winner. The evaluation of proposals and determination of selected proposals will be made by our internal team.

Shortlisted proposals will be requested to undergo the obstacle course designed for technology application verification as per advised by the evaluation team.


Click here to view the Technical Data Specification