Ann Arbor drone inspection firm in deal with offshore wind developer

ANN ARBOR — SkySpecs, the Ann Arbor-based provider of robotic drone inspection technology for the wind energy industry, announced a successful automated inspection of the world’s largest offshore wind turbine, at Burbo Bank Extension in the Irish Sea.

The announcement was made with Ørsted, the Fredericia, Denmark-based developer of offshore wind farms.

“Providing consistent image quality across the largest turbines offshore is challenging and requires consistency from the drone,” said David-Lee Jones, senior technical project lead with Ørsted. “This was the purpose of our work with SkySpecs. We really wanted to validate that their technology could provide the type of precise and robust inspection capabilities that Ørsted expects. We are pleased to announce that the inspection was a success.”

Ørsted’s mission is to lead the way in offshore wind innovation, and testing an automated inspection on an eight-megawatt offshore turbine was an important step in gaining confidence that this technology has the potential to be rolled out on all larger sized wind turbines. (The offshore wind turbines are far larger than those used on land in Michigan, which generate about 1.5 megawatts.)

Ørsted is bringing that innovation to the U.S. as well, with projects under development in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. The company is using its expertise to help build a mature, technologically advanced U.S. offshore wind industry – creating jobs and continuing to push the global industry forward.

The data that SkySpecs collected will be used to evaluate the condition of the 80-meter-long (262-foot-long) turbine blades as well. SkySpecs’ system includes:
* Fully automated robotic inspections of wind turbine blades that take less than 15 minutes from start to finish;
* Automatic data upload to its software product, Horizon, that classifies images by damage type and severity;
* An advanced feature set in Horizon that includes repair planning workflows, analytics dashboards and insights that enable users to spot trends, project repair costs and determine ROI.

“As an organization, we are committed to applying robotic solutions to solve challenges faced by renewable energy,” said SkySpecs’ CTO Tom Brady. “We’re helping owners craft their predictive maintenance strategies with a mountain of blade data and analytics tools that help them understand the health of their fleet.”

Serving many major wind farm owners and manufacturers internationally, SkySpecs automates blade data collection, and provides expert fleet-level management and analytics with its new platform, Horizon. SkySpecs is a member of the American Wind Energy Association, WindEurope and the Commercial Drone Alliance. http://www.skyspecs.com/

Ørsted employs 5,600 people and had 2017 revenue of 59.5 billion Danish krone ($. Ørsted’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2017, the company’s revenue was DKK 59.5 billion ($9.29 billion). More at www.orsted.com.

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