In recent years, wind farm installations around the world have taken off in a big way. Besides being a clean, renewable alternative to burning fossil fuels, wind power is even able to meet all the of the energy demands in some countries. Denmark, for instance, generates 140% of its domestic electricity demand from wind power and exports the surplus to neighboring countries.
However, maintaining all these mechanical parts and turbine blades in the remote areas, or, in some cases, above water, where these towering structures are built is far from easy. Regular wear and tear, bird strikes, and lightning strikes often leave behind small cracks or even damages undetectable to the naked eye.
Flying a helicopter can’t get maintenance crews close enough to detect problem areas and sending workers up can be extremely dangerous. But an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle armed with a high-resolution camera, infra-red camera or other sensors is nimble enough to carry out detailed inspection. By reducing the need for dangerous manned inspection, UAV wind turbine inspectors can help lower operation costs and save time without compromising maintenance standards.