HOME Offshore is a research project funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which partners five leading UK universities. The project will investigate the use of advanced sensing, robotics, virtual reality models, and artificial intelligence to reduce maintenance costs and efforts for offshore wind farms. Predictive and diagnostic techniques will allow problems to be picked up early, when easy and inexpensive maintenance will allow problems to be readily fixed. Robots and advanced sensors will be used to minimize the need for human intervention in the hazardous offshore environment.
The remote inspection and asset management of offshore wind farms and their connection to shore is an industry that will be worth up to £2 billion annually by 2025 in the UK alone, Texo DSI states. According to the Crown Estate, 80% to 90% of the cost of offshore operation and maintenance is generated by access requirements, such as the need to get engineers and technicians to remote sites to evaluate a problem and decide what action to undertake. Such inspection takes place in a remote and hazardous environment and requires highly trained personnel of which there is likely to be a shortage in coming years. Additionally, much condition-monitoring data which is presently generated is not useful or used effectively.
The HOME Offshore project aims to generate more ‘actionable data’ – useful information that can reduce operation and maintenance costs and improve safety for the offshore wind sector, Texo DSI states.
“Industrial partnerships with HOME Offshore are vital for de-risking research,” said Dr David Flynn from HOME Offshore. “Having partners such as Texo DSI on board helps us to take our research into industrial delivery, creating a viable long-term solution for the sector.”
Texo DSI has a UAV-deployed survey and inspection offering for the global offshore sector and has been recognized for bringing to market a number of UAV-integrated technologies.