Andover, Massachusetts-based Physical Sciences (PSI) is developing a drone that will use an infrared laser beam to monitor an area as well as rise and search the area when it measures an excess of methane. Fast Company staffer Ben Schiller takes a look at the new drone which is expected to help in the case of gas leaks at the more than 500,000 active natural gas wells in the U.S.

The gas leak detector (not the drone) is already in wide use, although not at smaller fracking sites which the drone will be able to monitor and report on:

"There is a significant emphasis on developing lower-cost technologies to find leaks where they haven't been found before," says PSI's Michael Frish. "In the past, detection has been about safety. Now the emphasis is on not only protecting pipelines from explosions, but also protecting against the environmental impact of relatively small leaks."

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