Bristol wind project receives £1.2mn award

By Sophie Chapman
The University of Bristol has partnered with Perceptual Robotics, founded by graduates from the university, on a wind energy project.

The University of Bristol has partnered with Perceptual Robotics, founded by graduates from the university, on a wind energy project.

The project has been granted £1.2mn from Innovative Energy UK’s flagship programme on robotics and artificial intelligence within extreme environments, which is part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The project aims to develop a surface inspection system for offshore wind turbines by using drones.

Due to the rise in wind farms across the globe, it is also very important to increase maintenance systems, and making them less expensive as well as labour-intensive and dangerous.

The outcome of the project will see an automated inspection system based on cameras within drones, with the University’s Visual Information Lab producing advanced 3D tracking techniques.

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“This award will make a significance difference to our development plans by allowing us to expand our systems into offshore operation and using the expertise in state-of-the-art tracking provided by the University team,” reported Kostas Karachalios, Project Manager at Perceptual Robotics.

Perceptual Robotics, who are based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, are also part of the consortium with ASV Global and VulcanUAV.

“Robotics is a fast-moving area, with new advances happening every day.  If robotics is to benefit industry, then knowledge transfer through close collaboration between companies and universities is essential,” stated Dr Andrew Calway, from the Department of Computer Science.

“This type of partnership also focuses our research activities on challenging real-world problems, which benefits us and the company.  It is great to see a company, started by University graduates, working in such a worthwhile area as renewable energy.”

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