£4million robotics boost for offshore wind farms

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University are part of a consortium of experts delivering a human-robotics hybrid solution for the maintenance and operation of offshore wind farms.

The team will receive a share of a £4million grant to create remote inspection and repair technologies using robotics and autonomous systems to inspect the condition of subsea power cables, identify problems early and extend their lifespan.

The government has set ambitious decarbonisation targets, increasing the present 5GW generated by offshore wind farms to 40GW by 2050. The costs of achieving these targets has, until now, focused on the capital outlay for wind turbines, but budgets have largely ignored the operation and maintenance of wind farm assets including subsea cabling. Currently 70% of cable failure modes cannot be monitored in-situ, inhibiting accurate health monitoring.

“This exciting and highly interdisciplinary project builds on our globally recognised expertise in Embedded Intelligence and Robotics and Autonomous Systems,” said Dr David Flynn, director of the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt University. “Our hybrid, human-robotics, technology will seek to protect those most vulnerable to increases in the cost of energy by reducing the costs faced by both tax and bill payers.”

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