Drones for Wind Turbine Inspection

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Inspection Services for Wind Turbines:
Global Market Assessment and Forecasts

By the beginning of 2015, there were nearly 270,000 individual wind turbines operating globally. The more than 800,000 blades spinning on these turbines are battered by the elements over time and gradually wear out. Deterioration can cause reduced energy production in early stages and catastrophic and costly blade collapse if left unnoticed. This is driving a brisk business in wind turbine blade inspections, a role that has traditionally been accomplished from the ground with simple visual inspections or more complicated and risky rope or platform access. A new approach using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, is rapidly muscling in as a middle option.

UAVs are proving to be more than a novelty. Commercial-grade UAVs handled by professional operators can provide higher-resolution visual inspections than ground-based inspections. They also provide an inspection that is quicker, easier, and less costly and risky than rope access techniques. Multi-rotor UAV units with robust stability in strong winds, strong battery life, and sharp optics are essential. Equally important is the integration of data analysis systems and inspection services that can help automate data processing and analysis to mitigate the photo fatigue that can occur photographing, analyzing, and cataloging vast blade surface image data across fleets of wind turbines. According to Navigant Research, cumulative global revenue for wind turbine UAV sales and inspection services is expected to reach nearly $6 billion by 2024.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the global market for UAVs for wind turbine blade inspection. The study provides an analysis of the market dynamics, industry structure, and technological features driving the market for UAV hardware and inspection services. Global market forecasts for units and revenue, broken out by segment (multi-rotor UAVs and UAV inspection services) and region, extend through 2024. The report also examines the key regional regulations related to UAVs, as well as the competitive landscape.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • Is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to inspect wind turbines a novelty?
  • How many wind turbines need to be inspected in all global and regional markets?
  • What are the regulatory policies related to the use of UAVs for inspections around the world?
  • What are the key technologies being used for this work?
  • Who are the key players in the UAV industry at this moment, on both the hardware and services sides?
  • How much revenue is expected to be generated from UAV sales and associated services over the next 10 years?
Who needs this report?
  • Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) vendors
  • UAV inspection services companies
  • Wind turbine vendors and service providers
  • Wind turbine owners
  • Wind turbine insurance companies
  • Wind turbine blade manufacturers
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1  Introduction

1.2  Market Overview

1.3  Market Forecast Highlights

2. Market Drivers  

2.1  Wind Blade Inspection Overview

2.1.1  Turbine Blade Leading Edge Erosion Inspections

2.1.2  Blade Defects Continue to Challenge the Wind Industry

2.1.3  Blade Wrinkling and Dry Glass

2.1.4  Turbine Blade Lightning Receptor Inspection

2.1.5  Tower and Nacelle Inspections

2.2  Vast Operational Wind Turbine Quantities Driving Demand

2.2.1  2014 Global and Country-Level Wind Installation Highlights

2.2.2  Wind Turbine Cumulative Units in the United States, Canada, and Other Americas

2.2.3  Wind Turbine Units Quantified in Europe

2.2.4  Wind Turbine Units Quantified in Asia, Pacific, and Remaining Global Countries

2.3  UAV Regulatory Status Overview

2.3.1  North America

   2.3.1.1  Canada

   2.3.1.2  United States

2.3.2  Europe

   2.3.2.1  Europe-wide: European Aviation Safety Agency

   2.3.2.2  Austria

   2.3.2.3  Belgium

   2.3.2.4  Denmark

   2.3.2.5  France

   2.3.2.6  Germany

   2.3.2.7  Ireland

   2.3.2.8  Italy

   2.3.2.9  Netherlands

   2.3.2.10  Spain

   2.3.2.11  Sweden

   2.3.2.12  Switzerland

   2.3.2.13   Turkey

   2.3.2.14   United Kingdom

2.3.3  Asia Pacific

   2.3.3.1  Australia

   2.3.3.2  China

   2.3.3.3  Hong Kong

   2.3.3.4  India

   2.3.3.5  Japan

   2.3.3.6  South Korea

2.3.4  Latin America

   2.3.4.1  Brazil

   2.3.4.2  Mexico

3. Technology Issues

3.1  UAV Technology Overview

3.2  Common UAV Hardware Selections for Wind Turbine  Inspections

3.3  UAV Guidance Systems

3.4  UAV Operational Flight Limitations

3.5  Sensor Choices for Wind Blade Inspection

3.5.1  Optical Digital Photography

3.5.2  Photogrammetry

3.5.3  Thermal Imaging

3.6  Data Acquisition

3.7  Blade Lightning Receptor Testing by UAVs

3.8  UAVs for Offshore Wind Turbine Blade Inspections

3.9  Competitive Threats to Widespread Adoption of UAVs for Wind Turbine Inspection

4. Key Industry Players

4.1  UAV Vendors Active in the Wind Turbine Inspection Market

4.1.1  Aerialtronics

4.1.2  Aeryon Labs

4.1.3  Aibotix

4.1.4  Ascending Technologies

4.1.5  AutoCopter

4.1.6  CybAero

4.1.7  DJI

4.1.8  FLōT Systems

4.1.9  microdrones

4.1.10   senseFly

4.1.11   SkySpecs

4.1.12   UAVision

4.2  Wind Turbine UAV Inspection Services and Solution Offerings

4.2.1  AeroVision Canada

4.2.2  AirFusion

4.2.3  Availon

4.2.4  Cyberhawk

4.2.5  Deutsche Windtechnik

4.2.6  ECI

4.2.7  GeoDigital

4.2.8  HUVRData

4.2.9  InspecTools

4.2.10   Pro-Drones

4.2.11   Skeye B.V.

4.2.12   SKYDRONE UAVs

4.2.13   Sky-Futures

4.2.14   SkySnap

4.2.15   Strat Aero

4.2.16   UpWind Solutions

4.2.17   Ventus Wind

4.2.18   WindSpect

4.3  Other Industry Players

4.3.1  Helical Robotics

4.3.2  ICM

5. Market Forecasts  

5.1  Forecast Methodology

5.1.1  UAV Unit Cost for Professional-Level Wind Inspections

5.1.2  UAV Inspection Services Cost

5.1.3  Total Addressable Market for Wind Turbine UAV Inspections

5.2  Annual Wind Turbine Units Inspected by UAVs

5.3  Annual UAV Units Deployed for Wind Turbine Inspections

5.4  Global Wind Turbine UAV and UAV Inspection Services Revenue

5.4.1  Cumulative Global Revenue by Segment

5.4.2  Annual Global Revenue by Segment and Region

5.4.3  North America

5.4.4  Europe

5.4.5  Asia Pacific

5.4.6  Latin America

5.4.7  Middle East and Africa

5.5  Conclusions and Recommendations

5.5.1  Recommendations

   5.5.1.1  Recommendations for UAV Inspection Companies Targeting the Wind Energy Market

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • Cumulative Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Cumulative Operational Wind Turbine Units, World Markets: 2010-2014
  • Cumulative Wind Turbine Units by Country, Americas: Beginning 1Q 2015
  • Cumulative Wind Turbine Units by Country, Europe: Beginning 1Q 2015
  • Cumulative Wind Turbine Units by Country, Asia Pacific: Beginning 1Q 2015
  • Annual Wind Turbine Units Inspected by UAVs by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual UAV Units Deployed for Wind Turbine Inspections by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Cumulative Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, North America: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Europe: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Asia Pacific: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Latin America: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Middle East: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Africa: 2015-2024
  • Leading Edge Erosion
  • Blade Wrinkling in Carbon Fiber Laminate
  • Global Lightning Strike Frequency Map
  • Healthy LPS Receptor (Left) and LPS Receptor and Blade Damaged by Lightning (Right)
  • Offshore Wind Turbine Inspection Challenges: Crew Transfers Required
  • Offshore Wind Turbine Inspection Challenges: Spotting Scopes from Tower Base

List of Tables

  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Revenue Share for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015 & 2024
  • Cumulative Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Region, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Cumulative Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Scenario, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Cumulative Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, World Markets: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, North America: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Europe: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Asia Pacific: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Latin America: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Middle East: 2015-2024
  • Annual Revenue for UAV Units and Services for Wind Turbine Inspection by Segment, Africa: 2015-2024
  • UAV Inspection SWOT Analysis

{"userID":"","pageName":"Drones for Wind Turbine Inspection","path":"\/research\/drones-for-wind-turbine-inspection","date":"12\/2\/2016"}