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Siemens partners with US startup to deploy drones for offshore wind turbine inspections

Published 01 March 2017

German wind turbine manufacturer Siemens has joined hands with SkySpecs, a Michigan, US-based start-up to deploy automated drone technology for inspection of offshore wind turbines.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop a push-button inspection system which is claimed to be fast, efficient and repeatable than the current methods.

Siemens’ wind power business and its Next47 venture unit will be involved to speed the development of the new technologies.

Founded in 2012, SkySpecs claims to have developed fully autonomous wind turbine inspections. The Michigan-based start-up said that it combines robotics, artificial intelligence and machine-based analytics to advance the development of drones for industrial applications. 

By collaborating with SkySpecs, Siemens intends to refine its technology for utility-scale wind turbine inspections and prepare it for commercial launch. The partnership is expected to allow Siemens to include advanced preventive maintenance techniques using SkySpecs’ technology.

Siemens Wind Power chief technology officer Ruediger Knauf said: "The autonomous drone technology supports our 'Digitalization@Wind' initiative in generating high quality field data about the condition of our wind turbines.

“This is particularly valuable for our offshore business, where completing inspections quickly, safely and cost effectively is of critical importance. Siemens Wind Power and SkySpecs can mutually benefit from this collaboration via next47, in sharing and co-developing technology and expertise. I am confident that we can bring blade inspection to the next level."

SkySpecs CEO Danny Ellis said: "We have been working with customers and partners in the wind energy industry to develop the most effortless and technologically sophisticated – yet fully automated – solution on the market.

“Siemens Wind Power is motivated to improve turbine inspection technology, including data collection and analysis, and have provided us access to their deep resources and expertise. Siemens has an incredibly impressive understanding of both the wind energy markets and autonomous technology, making our partnership a true win-win."


Image: Wind Turbines Off Shore At Colwyn Bay. Photo: Courtesy of Phil_Bird/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.