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A robotic boat checks the seabed at Vattenfall’s wind farms

A robotic boat checks the seabed at Vattenfall’s wind farms

“Floating drones” have been deployed to Vattenfall’s offshore wind farms in Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain. Task: Surveying the seabed around foundations, outriggers and cables.

In offshore wind farms, the seabed should be checked at regular intervals. For example, you need to examine how the foundations of wind turbines and transformer stations are around their support legs, and find out if the burial depth of the cables has changed. The bottom is also inspected when so-called jack-up vessels are used for repair and maintenance. Such vessels rest on four legs on the seabed and raise the hull above the waves so that you can work steadily.

Traditionally, bottom experiments are done with the help of manned research vessels. But during the summer and fall, Vattenfall has deployed small unmanned surface vehicles that are controlled by an operator sitting on the ground in an operations center. “Floating drones” have surveyed seabeds at the company’s wind farms in Lilgrund, Horns Rev 1, Horns Rev 3 in Sweden and Kriegers Flak in Denmark and Thanet in Great Britain.

Waterfall: Benefits will be seen

The results were good. According to Vattenfall It sees advantages from a climate and safety perspective compared to conventional research vessels. Fuel consumption is reduced by up to 90 percent, and crews do not need to work at sea.

– This is the first time we’ve used unmanned boats, but there will be many more, says Rasmus Janger, senior geophysicist at Vattenfall, in a statement.

read more: Saab Tests Its “Floating Drone” – Needs to Make Rational Decisions

Unmanned boats are called USVs, unmanned surface vessels. They are 4.5 meters long and come from Xocean, a Northern Irish company that provides marine data collection for various purposes. The craft is powered by 4 knots and solar panels and lithium ion batteries and a small diesel generator.

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