OSK Keeps Tabs on Gas Leaks with Satellites and NVIDIA

By Chad Cox

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

January 25, 2023


OSK Keeps Tabs on Gas Leaks with Satellites and NVIDIA
Image Provided by OSK

Utilizing a constellation of satellites, Orbital Sidekick (OSK) keeps an eye on gas pipeline leaks using hyperspectral imagery employing NVIDIA edge AI technology.

(OSK’s GHOSt Constellation of Satellites)

As a member of NVIDIA Inception, OSK used the support to enhance SDK acceleration and safety features that make the platform suitable for agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense and the energy sector.

OSK’s satellite constellation collects hyperspectral images and processes and analyzes the data in real-time with NVIDIA’s Jetson AGX Xavier.

“Space-based hyperspectral intelligence basically breaks up the spectrum of light so it’s possible to see what’s happening at a chemical level without needing an aircraft,” said Kaushik Bangalore, vice president of payload engineering at OSK.

OSK’s SIGMA Monitor platform displays information on a screen and can classify gas leaks by GPS location, scope, and importance. “Previous industry-standard ways of detecting such issues were unreliable as they used small aircraft and pilots looking out the window for leaks, depending on the trained eye rather than sensors or other technologies,” said Bangalore.

(OSK’s SIGMA Monitor Platform Dashboard)

The NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier module is utilized as an AI platform in space, collecting hyperspectral data from sensors and leveraging algorithms for leak detection. Integration of NVIDIA CV-CUDA and CUDA Python software toolkits boosts the module’s ability to seek and distinguish variances from space with a connection back to Earth.

Currently, OSK’s technology is monitoring more than 20,000 kilometers of variously owned pipelines and has detected 300 intrusive events related to digging or construction activities, over 200 suspected liquid carbon leaks, and over 100 believed methane leaks. Pilots can operate an aerial version that accumulates hyperspectral imagery from their aircraft.

(A Methane Leak Detected by OSK Technology)

“There are around 15 sun-synchronous orbits per day,” Bangalore said. “With NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier, we can process all the data taken onboard a satellite in an orbit within that same orbit, enabling continuous data capture.”

“We chose the NVIDIA Jetson platform because it offers off-the-shelf products for industrial applications with extended shock, vibration and temperature, and software that has been optimized for the NVIDIA GPU architecture,” says Bangalore.

“Our tech can help discover lithium and prevent methane or greenhouse gasses from being let out into the atmosphere. It’s a very direct impact, and it’s what the planet needs.”

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