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Airborne Quality Assurance System for Infrastructure (e.g. wind-turbines) with autonomous flight robots and special analysis software

Country of Origin: Austria
Reference Number: TOAT20180221001
Publication Date: 21 February 2018

Summary

An Austrian SME developed an airborne hard- and software based inspection technology for advanced quality assurance applications for wind-turbines, towers, photovoltaic systems and other infrastructure.
USP - Unique full service:
Data Aquisition of surfaces
Data Analysis wih automated reporting
Data Storage with Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence
The company is looking for license-, joint venture- and commercial agreements and for technical- and research cooperation agreements.

Description

The Austrian company has developed a hard- and software based airborne inspection system which is mainly consisting of an autonomous, helicopter type flight-robot, an analysis and classification software with automated report generation system and a data-base running in the background. 
This inspection system is thought to be part of an Asset Management System with an integrated Quality Cycle.

State of the art inspection of infrastructure is often carried out by industrial climbers. Such an inspection takes a lot of time and effort and the results are often not satisfying since industrial climbers can not investigate each part of a building in the given timeframes for inspection. Also, strong winds are often a limiting factor due to given safety rules.

With the novel technology, objects are investigated with a electrical helicopter type drone which can, operate for at least 30 minutes in up to 14m/sec (50 km/h) wind speed, compared to multicopters with limited agility and flight time under such circumstances.
Depending on the field of application this helicopter can be equipped modular with various sensors such as high resolution normal- and infrared cameras, full-hd livestreams telemetry or distance measuring units.
Also other sensors like multi-spectral cameras, gas-detecting devices or simply other payloads can be implemented as all the sensor integrations knowledge is inhouse. Based on this knowledge the technology can be adapted to specific applications of potential customers.

With the self-developed, proprietary software and database a transparent and comprehensible documentation is ensured for each customer.
Once the data are processed, it is possible to compare damages of the object between inspection intervals with the goal of preventing future extra repairs and maintenance (predictive maintenance). This is also supported by a data mining system running on a data-base in the background and extra help from an artificial intelligence algorithm to easier find anomalies in the images.
The data is stored in a cloud and can be accessed worldwide.

Awards:
The technology won already numerous innovation awards granted by Austrian and German juries.

Application Areas:
The inspection technology was developed for mainly vertical infrastructural objects, such as wind-turbines, dams, bridges, industrial plants, buildings, cooling towers...etc. but also, terrain with photovoltaic systems, pipelines and powerlines can be inspected.

The company is looking for:
Service companies, experts and insurance companies to apply the technology in their field and research partners to further develop the existing technology.
In this sense license agreements, commercial agreements with technical assistance, joint venture agreements, technical cooperation agreements and research cooperations are favoured.
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Advantages and Innovations

The main advantages of the autonomous air-based quality assurance system are:

- All in one solution:
Data acquisition, data analysis (e.g. detection of damages), automated reporting and data archiving.

- Cost & time saving:
Faster inspection therefore more efficient with respect to needed period of infrastructure inactivity and needed personnel

- High quality flying robot:
High quality data acquisition, stability even in strong winds, long flight time, Onboard Multi-Camera and Lidar distance system

- Comparable data:
Comparison of the specific damages between inspection intervals (time series)

- Efficient personnel planning:
Fewer personnel needed, better time management, higher operational availability, new digital jobs for older but experienced employees as industrial climbers

- Health Safety
Less dangerous works, most parts of the inspection can be done with the software

- Worldwide access to data:
Once the data are processed the data are stored in a cloud

- Extensive in-house knowledge:
Aviation, programming & mechatronics experts

- Digitalization
Software and data-base are the fundament for digitalization of processes and therefore Industry 4.0

Stage Of Development

Already on the market

Stage Of Development Comment

Onshore -->TRL 9
Offshore equipment under development, ready for market in summer 2018 -->TRL 7

Requested partner

SPECIFIC AREA OF ACTIVITY OF THE PARTNER:

Clientele:

Any kind of company that has a need for air-based quality assurance as:
- OEMs (Renewables)
- (Re)Insurance companies
- Owner of critical infrastructure
- Service Companies (Renewables)
- Asset Management and Financing
- Associations for Technical Inspection
- R&D Institutes with applications in the field of autonomous air-based quality assurance.

R&D partners are sought who have outstanding knowledge to further develop the technology in the fields of:
- Non distructive testing (NDT)
- Cloudsolution for handling of large image data
- Digitalization (Merging with other existing data; Transforming Data in customers ERP System)
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Images
- Autonomous air-based quality assurance.

TASK TO BE PERFORMED BY THE PARTNER:

The company is looking for:

- Partners that are interested in the implementation of the technology in its own portfolio (service companies, experts) or at its own site. The company is capable to tailor the technology to specific applications of customers.
- Strategic partners with complementary technologies and services to round out each others portfolio (e.g. cooperation with an association or technical inspection).
- R&D partners to further development the technology together with research partners.

In case that service companies or experts are interested to implement the technology in its own portfolio the Austrian company would provide a multi-day initial training. Together with the Austrian company, hardware and software will be adjusted to fulfil the required task of the partner. Once the technology is in use the Austrian company can provide repair and maintenance measures.

In this sense license agreements, commercial agreements with technical assistance, joint venture agreements, technical cooperation agreements, service agreements and research cooperations (Horizon 2020, Eurostars etc..) are favoured.

Kooperationsanfrage stellen