Seven years ago, James Harrison was at his desk researching ideas for a business using drones. Having recently left the British army, the ex-officer was researching which industries might benefit from using unmanned craft for a company he planned to launch with two former colleagues.
As he scrolled through images of oil rigs, he was struck by a picture of a worker conducting a safety inspection at an offshore oil rig while hanging on a rope. Mr Harrison had benefited from drone technology that helped him to navigate hostile areas during military tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. He recognised the aircraft could also improve safety on rigs.
His company, Sky-Futures, now sells drone-based inspection services to customers including Eni, the Italian oil and gas producer. The unmanned aircraft allow workers conducting inspections to stand on the structure while flying the device.
Read more: Drones transform working lives