Wind turbine inspection drones are small-sized unmanned aerial vehicles that are utilized to accumulate information and images for the assessment, monitoring, mapping, and analysis of turbine blades, towers and nacelles. These are incorporated with advanced software that provide unique datasheets and vertical specific heuristics to streamline the assessment workflows through real time and scalable reporting features.
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“Significant advantages over conventional manual methods such as safety and accurate information collection will drive industry demands”
Significant degradation in power output efficiency owing to leading edge erosion of blades, blade wrinkling, lightning receptor problems, towers and nacelle problems necessitate the timely monitoring and assessment. Conventional methods for the examination included the employment of specific teams suspended through cables and rope supports, using field telescopes and binoculars for the task. In conjunction with the human life risks, the method also had several limitations such as difficulty to access some areas, exclusion of blade defects assessment invisible to the naked eye. However, elimination of these drawbacks through utilization of wind turbine inspection drones is expected to present considerable growth prospects for this market.
“Increasing awareness regarding utilization of renewable energy sources has led to increased reliance harnessing wind energy”
According to Global Wind energy Council (GWEC), cumulative installed capacities of these towers was over 485 GW, which is expected to surpass 800 GW by 2021 with double digit growth rates over the time span. Increasing focus towards global warming and pollution levels, requirement of harnessing green energy sources are expected to garner exponential adoption rates of these renewable energy sources which will in turn drive the wind turbine inspection drones market growth over the forecast period. Maintenance of uninterrupted and consistent power outputs, reduction in examination and maintenance downtimes will be the major factors contributing to the growth of the industry.
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“Integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the workflow errors and detailed analysis within few hours is among the key trends gaining traction in industry”
SkySpecs Solution fully automated assessment workflows that are featured with full assessment turnaround time within 48 hours. AirFusion is another company that builds AI based solutions to automate damage discovery. These are among the few of the many product offerings utilized to enhance the examination outputs. Moreover, players are increasingly making efforts to enhance the hardware product offerings. For instance, Pro-Drone, introduced customizable solutions for enhanced positional awareness for the blades placement.
“Regulatory compliances that restrict the utilization of these UAVs are expected to present considerable growth challenge to the industry participants”
FAA regulations in the U.S., requirement of specific qualifications, certifications, or design modifications, regulations regarding VLOS and BVLOS, and its distinctness across countries is expected to be the major factor that will hamper the industry growth. According to our research, several countries that include parts of Western Europe and U.S. are expected to upgrade regulations regarding use of UAVs, which may relax the stringency of the regulations. This may also present significant growth barriers to the new entrants in the industry.
U.S. dominated the overall industry share in 2016 is expected to continue its dominance over the next few years, primarily owing to the largest utilization of the UAVs for various applications in the region. Moreover, according to our research commercial applications in the region will witness high end use inclinations. According to GWEC, Asia Pacific and Europe have considerably large power generating facilities in relation to North America. Amendments in the regulations to support utilization of these UAVs for inspection purposes may garner huge market potential over the coming years.
“Wind Turbine Inspection Drones Market: Competitive Background”
Key industry participants in the wind turbine inspection drones market include Aeryon Labs, Hexagon, Strat Aero, Cyberhawk Innovations, and UpWind Solutions. Some other major industry participants include AIRPIX, AeroVision Canada, Aerialtronics, DJI, AutoCopter, DroneView Technologies, HUVr, Eagle Eye Solutions, Intel, Monarch, Romax Technology, and Pro-Drone.