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ING Robotic Aviation, Capstone use drones for wind turbine inspection

ING Robotic Aviation has completed a one week mission in Amherst, Nova Scotia for Capstone Infrastructure Corporation. Primarily a research and development initiative, this project was designed to prove the operational feasibility of inspecting wind turbine blades using a robotic aircraft, or drone.


June 24, 2015
By ING Robotic Aviation

“We are very excited to be working with Capstone on this project,” states Ian Glenn, ING Robotic Aviation’s CEO. “This is a demonstration of our ability to discover new uses for robotic aircraft everyday. It’s a great advancement for wind farms across the globe.”

Traditionally, inspections on turbine blades are carried out either through rope access by having personnel repelling down the blade while capturing images or from ground photography. These methods can pose risk to human life and take a considerable amount of time to execute. Alternatively, with a two person team and ING’s Responder rotary wing aircraft, ING Robotic Aviation was able to fly its system up the turbine blades while collecting 36 megapixel geo-referenced and altitude stamped photos.

“The ability for us to use drone technology for inspections is a considerable advancement for our company,” said Rob Roberti, Senior VP of Power Generation for Capstone. “ING Robotic Aviation provided the right platform and team to get the job done more safely and efficiently than ever before.”

ING Robotic Aviation plans to use this project to further enhance their current service applications. The data collected during the operation will be post-processed into referenced blade mosaics for ease of analysis. This data will allow Capstones’ partner company, Complete Wind, to effectively analyze the blades for damages, cracks, etc.

“We are continuously evolving,” states Mike Jeffrey, President of Complete Wind. “This solution using drones has provided us with a new way to collect better data to make more informed decisions.”