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Airobot announces the collaboration with Mind4Energy to develop a flying robot for close range solar panel inspections, supported by the Province of Limburg

Solar PV plants are getting bigger every day. For example, Elms Farm PV plant in Oxfordshire UK is a 30MW park, covering a surface of over 50Ha and containing more than 100,000 panels.  To guarantee the energy output, malfunctioning panels need to be detected and replaced as quickly as possible. Today, infrared cameras on drones enable easy detection of defect panels, but the technology isn’t accurate enough to predict where problems will pop up.  Ideally, each panel should be inspected frequently on damage or soiling.  And in these large solar farms it takes a person at least one day to walk the complete site.

Airobot has teamed up with Mind4Energy to develop a solution using flying robots, supported by an innovation subsidy from the Province of Limburg, Belgium.

“In this project we’re going to turn a professional drone into a flying robot for solar panel inspections”, says Jan Leyssens, Managing Director at Airobot, “we’ll add technology to make the drone fly safely and automatically at low altitudes above the panels and record with centimeter accuracy where the pictures are taken. The images will be stored in the cloud and processed with Artificial Intelligence to detect panels with problems”. The goal is to reduce the operational costs of solar park owners by doing better preventive maintenance.  “This project will bring us a new tool to offer a better service to our customers”, adds Dirk Eeraerts, Co-founder at Mind4Energy, “it will help to get us a fast overview of the panels that need maintenance or cleaning which allows us to increase the lifespan of the installation and, in the end, reduce the cost of energy”.

The project will run throughout 2018 and first results are expected by the end of the year. For more information, please contact Jan Leyssens (+32 476 43 66 78, jan@airobot.eu).

About Airobot
Airobot helps organizations to collect accurate inspection data with flying robots. Airobot creates technology and integrates state-of-the-art collision avoidance, navigation and positioning systems to turn drones into flying robots for consistent data collection, meeting the user’s needs for safety and quality. The results are automatically stored in the cloud or on the user’s server to offer convenient access to the data. More info: www.airobot.eu

About Mind4Energy
Mind4Energy specialises in the engineering, monitoring and servicing of renewable energy systems. It’s industry leading monitoring solutions are based on solid PV engineering know-how and field experience and are built on industrial components to assure quality, reliability and flexibility.  Mind4Energy offers a complete service solution: they assemble the hardware, install and configure the dataloggers onsite and provide the data in an easy to use software portal. More info: www.mind4energy.com

About Province of Limburg
To encourage SMEs based in the Province of Limburg (Belgium) to work together on innovative technology, the Province of Limburg has launched a new initiative. This enables collaborating companies to get support to develop or test new innovative techniques, materials, concepts, processes or services. More info: www.limburg.be

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