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SeekOps Incorporated Licenses NASA Sensor Technology

Pasadena venture begins commercialization for energy industry.

Published on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 | 1:01 pm
SeekOps founders Brenrdan Smith (l) and Dr. Andrew Aubrey (r) with the SeekOps methane detection drone. The two founders recently left JPL to commercialize the technology (photo at Pasadena City Hall).

A new venture company, SeekOps Inc., has executed a license agreement with the California Institute of Technology for miniature gas sensor technology developed over the last 5 years at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Founders Andrew Aubrey (CEO) and Brendan Smith (COO) led industry applications of the Open Path Laser Spectrometer (OPLS) technology while employed at JPL.

The miniature form factor of this NASA gas sensor enables it to be used as a handheld tool or deployed on small unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. This technology provides far greater sensitivity than current field-deployable measurement devices, allowing field crews to locate small leaks from infrastructure before they become a safety concern.

Andrew Aubrey discussed the new NASA technology: “This sensor and software has been optimized for mobile leak detection using the handheld and aerial configurations. SeekOps’ products and services decrease the time required for leak detection operations, saving time and product, while enhancing public safety.”

SeekOps is currently implementing an aggressive commercialization strategy at their Pasadena office. The sensors are made at their facility, then integrated with their professional-grade UAS or configured as handheld sensors for sale to natural gas service providers. This rapid schedule is possible due to the founders’ familiarity with the sensor design and their involvement in implementation of the technology.

Brendan Smith leads the UAS integration efforts: “Energy companies can realize major benefits by integrating SeekOps’ services as part of their leak detection programs – the UAS deployment is the real game changer for enhanced detection and geolocation efficiency.”

The company is currently planning to deploy their commercial leak detection services in Summer 2017 while handheld sensors will be made to keep up with industry demand.

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