F2 - Use of autonomous systems for inspection

F - Operations, Management, Maintenance and Safety

Status - published
Last updated on: 21/06/2022


The use of autonomous systems for remote sensing and condition monitoring, together with AI and machine learning with remote resets and repairs present opportunities for advanced asset monitoring and management for ORE. This could potentially lower OPEX cost, whilst increasing availabilities of ORE farms and individual energy converters. Regulations and legislation of UAV systems are not yet developed, but are needed as autonomous systems are expected to be increasingly used for inspection and maintenance.


Clear regulation and legislation for UAV operations within offshore assets

Context And Need

Innovations are required to reduce the risk and cost of offshore interventions


Remote sensing and the use of autonomous vessels and robotics for inspection of ORE machines, e.g. turbine and structure, and for environmental monitoring is expected to become increasingly commonplace. There are technical challenges in developing systems and there is also the need to develop clear regulation and legislation for UAV operations within offshore assets.

Impact Potential

Autonomous operations and interventions have the potential to reduce the risk to offshore personnel, i.e. reduced OPEX, and H&S risk.

Reduction of legal uncertainty for AUV applications in the UK, potential for reduced OPEX.

Whole systems approach

Interdisciplinary challenge, combining communications and visualisation techniques with Ocean Engineering and Technology. Focussed on Hydrodynamic challenges, but links to autonomous vehicles on land / in air.

Some interdisciplinary scope with rules & regulation frameworks for land/air-based Autonomous Vehicles, but largely different stakeholders.

Research Status

Emerging area of autonomous vessels/robotics, prototype and trial status for ORE. The UK is amongst the leading countries in this field, e.g. UKRI ISCF initiative.

No dedicated legislation, some guidelines available, e.g. Maritime UK Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships UK Code of Practice (Voluntary Code) Nov. 2018

The following projects are related:

  • HOME-Offshore: Holistic Operation and Maintenance for Energy from Offshore Wind Farms (EPSRC, EP/P009743/1) - This project investigates the use of predictive modelling, robotics, advanced sensors and big data techniques to target interventions and thus improve safety, and reduce the cost, of the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms. This will also help address the increasing shortage of skilled workers in this field.


Supergen ORE Hub Flexible Funding Research

  • Autonomous Biomimetic Robot-fish for Offshore Wind Farm Inspection
    Lead Institution - University of York

    The maintenance and monitoring of Offshore Wind Turbines (OWTs) and Floating Offshore Wind Turbines (FOWTs) present significant challenges. Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) used to inspect them are limited in accessibility and manoeuvrability. This project will build a Robo Fish - a biometric Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) capable of continuously and autonomously locating and monitoring structural damage to OWTs or FOWTs. The Robo Fish mimics the movement of an eel, allowing it to greater agility in close proximity to structures and better energy efficiency of movement compared to conventional AUV designs.


Links to Industry Priorities:


We would also like to invite UK researchers and industry stakeholders within ORE to submit links to research projects, both past and present, for inclusion within the landscape.

Therefore, if you have a UK-based research project within an area of ORE that you feel is relevant to a specific research theme or challenge within the Research Landscape, click HERE to submit your research project to the research landscape


PhD projects in Offshore Renewable Energy

In order to better understand the breadth of ORE research currently being conducted in the UK, the Supergen ORE Hub has collated from its academic network, UK Centres for Doctoral Training and Industrial partners, a list of PhDs currently being undertaken in ORE.

Access a PDF of the list and find out more about including your PhD.

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