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Background to conducting technical exploration:

  • Wind turbine blade inspection in wind farms is often done by workers using the rope installed in the wind turbine with a visual check, which is labor intensive and costly.
  • In the inspection of onshore wind power generation facilities, there are companies in Japan that conduct inspections by taking pictures of damage using drones. However, in drone inspection of offshore wind power generation equipment, this technique is not widely used, except for a few companies in Europe.
  • In the current situation, the inspection is done after stopping the rotation of the blade for both visual inspections and drone inspections. For that reason, the operation time becomes longer.
  • We are looking for an efficient inspection technology using a drone that improves work time and cost.


Guidelines/constraints for the desired products and technologies:

Specifications required for products and technologies

  • Technique to efficiently perform blade inspection of wind turbines on offshore wind power plants by drone.
    • Locations/parts to be inspected can be photographed by remote/automatic or autonomous flight.
    • Technology to follow the move of rotating blades, etc.
  • The central part of the wind turbine is not included in the inspection area. The main target is the part from the middle to the tip of the blade.
  • At this stage, we assume that the drone is placed on a small boat and moved to the vicinity of the wind turbine and operated from there, but it is preferable to let the drone fly from land to the wind turbine (several kilometers).
  • It is more desirable to have a technology capable of identifying damage from the captured image with a drone equipped with a high-performance camera without stopping the rotation of the blade.


  • Though it is desirable to be implemented with simple customization, we can accept some experimental time for solving the existing issues before implementation.



Possible solution areas:

  • Inspection technology for wind turbine blades on land-based wind power plants
  • Inspection technology of marine structures such as underwater oil field facilities


Desired outcome of the solution:

  • Capture images with drones without stopping the rotation of the blade and be able to distinguish damage from the image.
  • The object for inspection is mainly the part from the center to the tip of each blade.
  • Be able to capture the image for inspection by remote/automatic flight or autonomous flight.
  • It is only necessary to be able to distinguish damage from the image that can be observed with the human eye.

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