Autonomous Remote Operations Using AUVs for Offshore Wind Farm Inspection

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

Currently, offshore wind asset owners and offshore inspection contractors face high underwater inspection expenses due to the use of survey vessels, divers and wired solutions. Also, divers face high risks in executing inspection tasks and, as a result, asset owners increasingly expect their supplier to deliver ‘diverless’ contracts.

Part of the solution which are currently already widely applied by the industry lies in the use of ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). These tethered submarine robots are connected to a mothership and operated by specialized ROV pilots, which still limits on the operations. There is still a need for dedicated support specialists and a mothership – with grave cost and limited capacity consequences. Furthermore, weather and wave conditions will still limit the operating windows.

Future autonomous wireless solutions have the potential to fulfil the growing need for flexibility and upscaling of operations. The use of these solutions can improve the quality, efficiency, costs and safety implied with offshore wind inspection activities. Moreover, they provide the opportunity for more frequent structural inspection/monitoring and collaborative multiplatform cooperation (SWARMs) to cover larger areas within less time. Typical operations like for example scour inspections, monitoring of trenches, 3D model reconstruction and environmental impact monitoring are options for a transition to these systems.