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Placement and Routing Optimization for Automated Inspection with UAVs A Study in Offshore Wind Farm

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Document pages: 11 pages

Abstract: Wind power is a clean and widely deployed alternative to reducing ourdependence on fossil fuel power generation. Under this trend, more turbineswill be installed in wind farms. However, the inspection of the turbines in anoffshore 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 workerswho need to work at considerable height. Also, inspecting increasing number ofturbines requires long man hours. In this regard, unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs) can play an important role for automated inspection of the turbines forthe operator, thus reducing the inspection time, man hours, and correspondinglythe risk for the workers. In this case, the optimal number of UAVs enough toinspect all turbines in the wind farm is a crucial parameter. In addition,finding the optimal path for the UAVs routes for inspection is also importantand is equally challenging. In this paper, we formulate a placementoptimization problem to minimize the number of UAVs in the wind farm and arouting optimization problem to minimize the inspection time. Wind has animpact on the flying range and the flying speed of UAVs, which is taken intoaccount for both problems. The formulated problems are NP-hard. We thereforedesign heuristic algorithms to find solutions to both problems, and thenanalyze the complexity of the proposed algorithms. The data of the Walney windfarm are then utilized to evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithms.Simulation results clearly show that the proposed methods can obtain theoptimal routing path for UAVs during the inspection.

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