Concept to Commercialization R&D
Field Deployment of Advanced Technology

Project Detail

Five offshore wind turbine platforms built off the eastern coast of the US require periodic visual inspection to monitor the condition of key points in the foundation. ULC’s Aerial Services team delivered high-quality inspection data to the engineering team while providing increased safety, improved efficiency and reduced costs. 

block island wind farm drone inspection

Client : Deepwater Wind, Keystone Engineering

Location : Block Island Wind Farm

Project Date : Fall 2018

Aircraft : ULC Custom-Developed Hexacopter UAS

Payload : 42MP High-Resolution DSLR

Total Flight Time : 120 min

Challenges

Traditional methods of inspecting offshore wind platforms:

  • Expose workers to risk; requires climbing at heights above the ocean
  • Make it difficult to get a full view of junction points
  • Are time consuming; up to 6 hours of inspection time per platform
  • Are geared towards identifying anomalies 5cm or greater in size

ULC proposed a detailed flight, operations and safety plan to deliver comprehensive visual inspection data detailing the condition of all key inspection points..

Project Results

Using a high-resolution DSLR camera mounted on ULC’s custom-developed multirotor UAV, ULC Aerial Services provided detailed images and reporting of all Level 1 inspection points.

  • High-resolution 42 mega-pixel images of all inspection points across five offshore wind platforms. Engineers from Keystone Engineering Inc., who designed the foundations for Deepwater Wind, were able to utilize the data to deliver a total assessment with unprecedented accuracy and expediency.
  • ULC Robotics delivered 100% data capture of the foundation structure whereas a manned survey would likely have had blind spots due to difficulty in getting access to vantage points. UAV inspection delivers 360° access to the platform and other structures.
  • UAV based survey data of all five structures was obtained in approximately two hours of total flight time. Traditionally, it would have taken 6 hours per foundation.

Conventional inspection typically requires a team of engineers to board the platform and use a series of ladders to climb to the platform. Using drones, ULC Robotics’ Aerial Services team was able to deliver more detailed data without the risks associated with climbing up to the platform, improving the safety of our team.” Captain John O’Keeffe, Manager, Operations & Maintenance and Marine Affairs at Deepwater Wind.


offshore wind drone inspection services

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