An underwater ROV for the inspection of the foundations of an offshore wind farm

Researchers from the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (Orca) Hub have teamed up with EDF to use a customised remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to carry out what is believed to be the first autonomous wind farm foundation inspection.

The ROV, equipped and operated by the Orca Hub, and funded by the UK’s Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, was modified for the project at the Blyth Offshore Wind Farm. It carried out visual inspections of the gravity-based foundations of three offshore turbines over the course of four days. The trials demonstrated the ROV’s ability to work autonomously at the site, as it recorded videos to assess the exterior condition of turbine foundations and cables.

The ROV was also used to create a 3D model of parts of the underwater structure, which will be used to monitor biofouling.

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