In this project an autonomous visual inspection system is planned, which will enable inspection experts, untrained in piloting micro aerial vehicles (MAVs), to tele-operate them as an aid to their mission, while focusing on the inspection task at hand. The proposed inspection task is visual inspection of wind turbines while in operation, a highly complex task which calls for new theoretical and practical paradigms. Existing inspection methods are slow and costly, and the wind turbine must be out of service and stopped while inspected, leading to unavailability and causing significant loss of electricity production and income.
There is no system on the market capable of carrying out inspection of the rotor blades while they are in operation due to technical complexity. Therefore, during inspection the wind turbine must be out of service and stopped, leading to unavailability and causing significant loss of electricity production and income. The proposed project aims to solve the technical complexity of rotor blades inspection during wind turbine normal operation and consequently increase its electricity production. To that end, the project will develop a new autonomous visual inspection system of rotor blades based on a single micro aerial vehicle (MAV), capable to perform visual inspection of rotating rotor blades autonomously, so that an untrained pilot can safely and efficiently operate it. Therefore, an inspection expert, untrained in piloting MAVs, will be able to tele-operate the MAV as an aid to his/her mission, while being able to focus on the inspection task at hand.
Development of a comprehensive aerial system for autonomous inspection of rotating turbine blades in real operating conditions requires the expertise of all team participants whose background and previous experience corroborate their commitment to this project and the capabilities in delivering the tasks assigned to them. Altogether, participants collectively constitute a team capable of achieving the project objectives, broken down into tasks and assigned to participants based on their fields of expertise.