Remote inspection of wind turbine blades using UAV with photogrammetry payload

Zhang, D. and Burnham, K. and Mcdonald, L. and Macleod, C. and Dobie, G. and Summan, R. and Pierce, G. (2017) Remote inspection of wind turbine blades using UAV with photogrammetry payload. In: 56th Annual British Conference of Non-Destructive Testing - NDT 2017, 2017-09-04 - 2017-09-07.

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Visual Inspection is regularly used as a method of non-destructive testing (NDT) to find defects in large component structures. Wind turbine blades, regularly located in isolated environments, are typically difficult to access. In order to reduce operational and maintenance costs and extend asset lifetime, a project for the remote inspection of blades to accurately assess surface integrity is being undertaken. The remote inspection solution combines an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a photogrammetry payload to provide visual reconstruction of a blade for a holistic condition overview. Photogrammetric software is used to process the captured images to generate a 3D blade profile. A waypoint guidance algorithm controls the UAV to complete a full blade surface capture at constant distance, minimising motion blur. The results provide an accurate 3D reconstruction of the used blade complete with defects, discontinuities and markings and hence visual inspection using UAV combined with photogrammetry has been successfully implemented.