The role of drones, deep learning & AI in wind turbine inspections

At first appearance, wind turbines seem simple. However, there are a few important components that need to be routinely inspected for performance and safety.


Maintaining wind turbines properly is essential to keeping them functional. Regular visual inspection is one step in maintenance.


The wind energy sector has already seen many efficiency and safety advantages of drones. Drones minimize downtime and avoid dangerous man-hours while collecting high-quality data.


In contrast to traditional rope-access human inspection, drone-based inspection cuts expenditures by up to 70% and revenue lost due to downtime by up to 90%.


Inspections of industrial infrastructures, such as power lines, power towers, and wind turbines, are now being carried out using drones and artificial intelligence (AI). Drones can be programmed to fly near wind turbines and quickly capture high-quality photographs. The photos are then subjected to an AI analysis to look for flaws or potential issues.


The focus is now shifting to advancements in data analysis, particularly in automation and machine learning (ML).


Wind turbine blades can be examined more precisely by drones with embedded vision and infrared thermography than by ground-based camera vision systems. Under the surface of the turbine blade, cracks and other problems can be found using drones.


Soon, networked drones powered by 5G technology will be better equipped to conduct inspections by working together. Deep learning, embedded vision, and AI will enable more remote installations and autonomous flights. Given that climate change is anticipated to worsen weather-related issues for industrial infrastructure, this improvement is necessary.


At the 4th Edition Windpower Data and Digital Innovation Forum, we will be discussing: • The challenge of wind operations & maintenance, • How digitalization and analytics can help optimize maintenance processes, • What are the impact of digitalisation on maintenance?, • The four segments of digitalization. Join experts and stakeholders in discussions that could shape the future of the global wind power market.