Windräder in einer Reihe
Yauhen Suslo / Fotolia
2021-06-09 project

Autonomous Offshore Drone (AOD) funding project

The core objective of the AOD project is to implement a procedure with which the rotor blades of wind turbines can be inspected cost-effectively and time-efficiently for offshore wind farm operators using autonomously flying drones.

Jonas Brückner
Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur Logo
Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur

Project partner
University of Lübeck, Lübeck
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Kiel

Project coordinator
VDE Renewables GmbH, Alzenau

Project duration
01/2021 – 12/2022

Project duration
01/2021 – 12/2022

Problem statement

As serious accidents at onshore wind turbines demonstrate, maintenance will play an even greater role in the future for offshore turbines due to safety, service life and economic efficiency, especially in light of the tough environmental conditions where these turbines are located. In particular, repairing damage at sea is a very complex and cost-intensive matter.

Project goal

The overall objective of the project is to develop a prototype for rotor blade inspection of offshore wind turbines, consisting of a drone and control and analysis software, as well as to demonstrate its use in a real environment. In the process, questions regarding the certification of the inspection procedure, the training procedure for offshore experts regarding the inspection of the rotor blades of wind turbines will also be worked out.


The solution is based on a patented process from Rolawind GmbH and involves the development of an inspection drone (UAS) with specially adapted sensor technology. Based on the prototype, methods of regulation and control technology are being developed so that the UAS can reliably fly defined flight paths on the rotor blade autonomously and record measurement data. New issues are also being investigated in the area of data evaluation of thermographic images. Parallel to the technical developments, certification procedures are being developed to test the inspection procedures within the framework of a public standard.