Siemens, SkySpecs Team Up on Drone Inspections for Wind Turbines

Siemens is collaborating with U.S.-based SkySpecs to deploy automated drone technology for onshore and offshore wind turbine inspections.

SkySpecs said that the goal of the collaboration is to develop a push-button inspection system that is faster, repeatable and more efficient than existing methods. Siemens is involving its Wind Power business and its next47 venture unit to accelerate the development of new technologies.

“The autonomous drone technology supports our ‘Digitalization@Wind’ initiative in generating high-quality field data about the condition of our wind turbines,” Siemens Wind Power Chief Technology Officer Ruediger Knauf said in a Feb. 28 statement. “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.”

The next47 team acts as a venture capitalist, advisor and catalyst into Siemens for external start-ups and creative entrepreneurs.

SkySpecs’ blade inspections are fully-automated, allowing drones to take off, capture high-resolution images of all four sides of each blade, return and land in under 15 minutes. Captured images are tagged with the data that customers need to locate, annotate and make decisions about timing of blade repairs, while accurate data location provides a clear benchmark and a digital timeline of damage progression, SkySpecs said.