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An autonomous offshore wind farm inspection technology under development will use aerial “drone swarms” deployed from an uncrewed marine robotic vessel. The system, developed in the UK project Drone Swarm for Unmanned Inspection of Wind Turbines (Dr-SUIT), uses 5G and satellite connectivity. The technology entails a swarm of drones autonomously inspecting wind turbines subsequently removing the need for manual, human inspection.

An Armada uncrewed robotic vessel will act as the host vessel for the aerial drones, facilitating launch and recovery, recharge, data download and transmission to shore via satellite. The Armada vessels are a low-emission alternative to traditional vessels, emitting up to 90% fewer greenhouse gasses.

Ocean Infinity has been developing the technology in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, Airborne Robotics and Bentley Telecom. The system will detect and monitor defects or damages inside the turbine and the entire structure of a wind turbine in a safe and effective way. This will benefit offshore wind farms, reducing the time they have to shut down for maintenance and therefore increasing availability and supply, reports.

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