AuthorsH. Chung, S. Maharjan, Y. Zhang, F. Eliassen and K. Strunz
TitlePlacement and Routing Optimization for Automated Inspection with UAVs: A Study in Offshore Wind Farm
AfilliationCommunication Systems
Project(s)The Center for Resilient Networks and Applications, Simula Metropolitan Center for Digital Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
Journal IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
Date Published05/2021
Publisher IEEE

Wind power is a clean and widely deployed alternative to reducing our dependence on fossil fuel power generation. Under this trend, more turbines will be installed in wind farms. However, the inspection of the turbines in an offshore wind farm is a challenging task because of the harsh environment (e.g., rough sea, strong wind, and so on) that leads to high risk for workers who need to work at considerable height. Also, inspecting increasing number of turbines requires long man hours. In this regard, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can play an important role for automated inspection of the turbines for the operator, thus reducing the inspection time, man hours, and correspondingly the risk for the workers. In this case, the optimal number of UAVs enough to inspect all turbines in the wind farm is a crucial parameter. In addition, finding the optimal path for the UAVs’ routes for inspection is also important and is equally challenging. In this paper, we formulate a placement optimization problem to minimize the number of UAVs in the wind farm and a routing optimization problem to minimize the inspection time. Wind has an impact on the flying range and the flying speed of UAVs, which is taken into account for both problems. The formulated problems are NP-hard. We therefore design heuristic algorithms to find solutions to both problems, and then analyze the complexity of the proposed algorithms. The data of the Walney wind farm are then utilized to evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithms. Simulation results clearly show that the proposed methods can obtain the optimal routing path for UAVs during the inspection.

Citation Key28072