Imperial College London

Aerial Robotics Lab creates new drone for inspecting offshore wind farms

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Image: ORCA Hub

Image: ORCA Hub

The Aerial Robotics Lab has helped develop a new drone that could be used to independently inspect and repair damaged wind farms and oil rigs.

The Lab is one of several partners in the international Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets hub (ORCA), which has developed a four-legged robot - named ANYmal - that can perform maintenance tasks on remote oil rigs or wind farms.

While aerial drones are already used to inspect offshore structures, this drone has a robotic arm that can attach itself to vertical structures, such as a wind turbine, to inspect it, hook onto a sensor, or carry out repairs independently.

Dr Mirko Kovac, the Director of the Aerial Robotics Lab said: “The robots can visually inspect a turbine for integrity concerns and make contact, placing sensors on the infrastructure, or acting as a sensor itself, to assess the health of each asset.”

"Our technology could even deposit repair material for certain types of damage. This has far-reaching applications including removing the need for humans to abseil down the side of turbines, which can be both dangerous and expensive."

Image credit: ORCA Hub

Reporter

Tom Creese

Tom Creese
Department of Aeronautics