With the drive to fight climate change and global warming, an effort is made to increase the amount of renewable energy. Wind energy currently holds the second-largest share in total clean energy production. Given that the blades of wind turbines are subject to substantial environmental impact, regular inspection is crucial. Knowing that inspection by humans is dangerous and inefficient, Clobotics automated the whole process.
Automated blade inspection
Using a drone with a camera and an Ouster OS1 onboard, Clobotics managed to reduce inspection time from more than 6 hours to only 15-25 minutes. The drone can be set up by a single technician and during the flight, there is no need for human intervention. The overall cost can be significantly reduced due to three major factors. First, high labor and the associated costs are eliminated as only a single technician is required. Second, the lower inspection time leads to higher operating times of the windmills, because they have to be shut down for only 20 minutes. Third, the windmills can now be inspected more often and with higher accuracy, which minimizes damage and, thus, expensive repairs.
Lidar as a game-changer
Clobotics selected Ouster primarily because it provides one of the smallest, lightest, and most reliable lidar solutions today. Moreover, we are impressed with the high performance in bright light, rain, fog, and other severe environments. Ouster lidar is ideal for drone applications – Ke Liang, Clobotics intelligent hardware leader
In addition to the onboard camera, Clobotics is convinced that lidar is an essential tool for reliable operation. The Ouster OS1 is perfectly suited for aerial operation, as the weight is kept low at only 447 grams. Especially in the rain, fog, dust, smoke, or bright light, a camera is not a convenient way to find small issues. Because lidar is largely unaffected by poor weather conditions, wind turbine inspection is not only possible in good weather.