Perceptual Robotics, based in Bristol, is an SME specialising in intelligent algorithms for automating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Its Dhalion system is a UAV with 3D tracking that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and situational awareness to access turbine blades in hazardous conditions.
At the push of a button, the system can autonomously inspect a wind turbine in minutes to collect data on blade issues such as lightning strike damage, cracks, erosion and delamination – a significant improvement on current inspection methods, which can take hours to gather data.
With access to offshore wind farms a key commercialisation hurdle, Perceptual is working alongside the Catapult to test and validate the technology by operating it in real-world environments on the 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine.
The project will evolve and augment Perceptual’s existing onshore turbine inspection system, making it suitable for use offshore. It’s estimated that the fully-autonomous system could, if applied across Europe’s current 16GW offshore wind fleet, offer lifetime savings of almost £1 billion for the sector through reducing operational expenditure and maximising operational life and economic returns.