Drones to transport personnel and materials to offshore wind farms

Nov. 14, 2023
Maintenance teams and materials have to travel long distances to reach offshore wind turbines. Can drones take over transport tasks and relieve maintenance personnel, the German Aerospace Center asks.

COLOGNE, Germany - Maintenance teams and materials have to travel long distances to reach offshore wind turbines. Can drones take over transport tasks and relieve maintenance personnel? The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is investigating the possibilities and requirements together with the energy supplier Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW). In this context, an unmanned DLR small helicopter has now flown to a wind turbine and automatically communicated with it. Seven commercial drone manufacturers will follow up on the findings to further advance the technology developed at DLR. To this end, DLR and EnBW are organising the 'Offshore Drone Challenge' (ODC) in June 2024 at the National Experimental Test Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Cochstedt, the German Aerospace Center reports. Continue reading original article.

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

14 November 2023 -The German Aerospace Center (DLR) writes that "the flight test was an important intermediate step in the 'Upcoming Drones Windfarm' (UDW) project organised by DLR and EnBW. The aim of the project is to find out the conditions and necessary steps for the realisation of drone operations, initially for the transport of materials, and subsequently also for passenger transport. The project also includes the 'Offshore Drone Challenge' (ODC), where drone manufacturers and service providers will present suitable solutions. The stakeholders will be able to benefit from the current research results. Companies Anavia, Flowcopter, Flying Basket, HyFly, NEXaero, Unmanned Helicopters and Volocopter were selected and will now present their technologies in Cochstedt during June 2024."

"We will see several firsts in terms of the number and size of the aircraft," says Sebastian Cain. "In addition, they will all contribute to making the Offshore Drone Challenge a venue for drone demonstrations. It will also create a space for an exchange on technology, business and regulatory matters." Michael Splett, Head of Offshore Operations at EnBW and a member of the National Drone Council of the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr; BMDV), adds: "Offshore wind energy is indispensable for the energy transition and a sustainable energy supply. As operators, it is our task to bring together the two technologies of wind energy and heavy-lift drones. Accordingly, with the ODC we are taking an important step to further explore the realisation of future drone operations."

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Jamie Whitney, Senior Editor
Military + Aerospace Electronics

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