Rigitech, a Swiss aerial logistics company, has come up with a solution to deliver accessories directly to technicians inside offshore wind turbines using drones. Their Eiger drone delivery system can accurately drop off payloads without needing to land. They successfully tested this system by supporting the maintenance of a turbine at Anholt Offshore Wind Farm in Denmark.
To achieve this, the team developed advanced technologies like AI-based flight planning algorithms, precise navigation in windy conditions, computer vision, and sensor fusion algorithms. The Eiger drone, equipped with the dropping system, solves the expensive problem of turbine repairs caused by a lack of essential parts.
“The results speak for themselves; spare parts delivered with cm-level precision, fully autonomously, every time,” said Adam Klaptocz, CEO of RigiTech, in a blog post from the company.
Instead of using a service vessel that takes multiple trips between the shore and the turbines, resulting in time delays and high fuel consumption, the Eiger drone can quickly deliver spare parts to the wind turbines within just 30 minutes. This efficient solution allows for same-day repairs, improves technician safety, and minimizes turbine downtime.
The Eiger drone platform, offered by RigiTech, has been upgraded with an optional cutting-edge dropping system prototype. It ensures accurate delivery to the desired destinations, optimizing operations and significantly reducing delivery time.
The Eiger drone is the company’s largest model, designed for nighttime operations and capable of withstanding winds up to 15 m/s (54 km/h). It can cover long distances exceeding 62 miles (100 kilometers) and transport goods between cities and challenging locations.
The drone’s advanced lighting technology enables safe operations day and night. It also features a precise pitot tube and Real-Time Kinematic heading system for accurate navigation and control. Integrated cameras for target landing are currently being developed to enhance its capabilities.
In case of emergencies, the drone is equipped with a parachute. The payload boxes are designed to accommodate various items, making deliveries efficient and secure, including cartons and medical supplies.
The firm could complete 40 flights offshore, with “multiple autonomous payload drops on top of the 95 m-high wind turbine located 30 km offshore, with a 100% success rate despite challenging wind conditions.”