Ann Arbor’s SkySpecs Develops New Automated Drone Inspection Technology


Ann Arbor-based SkySpecs has developed a new automated drone inspection technology that allows wind farm owners and operators, along with original equipment manufactures, to inspect a large wind turbine in less than 20 minutes.

The push of a button launches the drone, which surveys all sides of a turbine’s three blades while they are moving. The collected data from an onboard camera includes high-resolution images that identify cracks, erosion, lightening strikes, and other anomalies in a turbine portfolio.

The data is then sent to a web portal for viewing, annotating, and reporting.

“SkySpecs uses advanced sensors like Velodyne’s Puck (a 3-D laser scanner) to construct models of wind turbines in real time,” says Tom Brady, CTO of SkySpecs. “Once the general shape and structure of the turbine is understood by the drone, onboard software creates a precise, repeatable, and optimized path to collect all of the pictures and other data needed for the inspection.”

The automated drone inspection will be on display for the first time at a private demonstration on Sept. 28 at the Wind Energy Expo/Wind Europe Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

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