Danish firm Ørsted have begun testing cargo drones capable of carrying up to 68kg at offshore wind farm Hornsea 1.
Ørsted have previously experimented with long distance light-capacity drones, creating models capable of carrying 2.5kg up to 62miles in partnership with DSV Global Transport and Logistics.
The large capacity drones, created in partnership with Rigitech, a Swiss-based aerial logistics firm, yielded drones capable of aerial drop-offs.
The new machines possess a 2.6-meter wingspan and are intended to provide material for maintenance for larger offshore projects such as Hornsea 1.
The installation, which is situated 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast, has an energy generation capacity of 1.2 gigawatts from 174 turbines. This has the capacity to provide clean energy for one million UK homes.
Large capacity drones greatly reduce carbon emissions by removing the requirement for helicopter assistance and the multiple boat journeys to the turbines.
Maintenance drones also negate the requirement for wind turbines to be powered down during maintenance, further reducing emissions from restarting machinery.
Ørsted plan to operate drones from existing Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) and Service Operating Vessels (SOVs) already present at Hornsea 1.
New developments in the use of drones were celebrated at the first-ever Robotics & Automation Awards in the Best Use of Drones category. Read the full list of winners for the inaugural Robotics & Automation Awards – the most exciting new event for those working in the robotics and automation sectors! You can also check out exclusive coverage of the night in the November 2023 issue of Robotics & Automation.