STABLE has designed a stabilised platform for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, used for servicing and inspecting offshore wind farms and other offshore installations.
Transportation of crucial parts and components, and visual inspection of offshore wind turbines and wave and tidal installations is increasingly being done by bespoke drones. It is, however, challenging for a drone to land on an offshore mothership when the drone platform is moving at unpredictable angles due to waves. Likewise, to take off, the drones need to calibrate their sensors while standing still.
Thus, if the drones are delayed by harsh weather conditions, this will delay service and monitoring activities, cause production downtime and may lead companies to choose less cost-effective and environmentally sound transportation alternatives such as helicopters or offshore support vessels.
The stabilised drone platform from STABLE ensures that a drone always has a horizontal take-off and landing platform. This enables the drone to take off and land more rapidly and efficiently.
STABLE’s stabilisation technology is based on dedicated sensors that monitor the movement of the ship. When the ship moves, the platform is automatically adjusted by computer-controlled actuators, allowing the platform to stay level at times.
The STABLE platform has a flexible design that is suitable for all drone sizes and deployment sites.
STABLE’s stabilised platform makes it easier to use drones instead of manned helicopters or offshore supply vessels, thereby cutting costs and reducing fossil fuel consumption dramatically. Because they are unmanned, drones also reduce the risk of injury to personnel as well as accidents.
In addition, use of the company’s stabilised platform improves efficiency in service, inspection and transportation in general, and may also help to increase production of green electricity by ensuring optimal uptime for wind turbines.
Use of drones for offshore asset inspection is expected to grow as drone technology matures. The need for more environment-friendly transport solutions in the offshore sector is anticipated to grow as well. The main market for STABLE’s stabilised drone platforms is motherships serving offshore wind farms.
STABLE has delivered stabilised platforms to the maritime industry since 2002. Its drone platform is market ready.
The company is currently carrying out a research project to create a complete container with the stabilised platform, together with drone supplier Griff Aviation, ship operator Olympic Subsea and NORCE Norwegian Research Centre/UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The container is expected to be deployed at the end of 2019.