A view from the top
André Moura, Founder and CEO of Pro-Drone, Integrated Solutions for the Inspection of Energy Infrastructure, sat down with PES to tell us his perspective on drone inspections and how his company differs from other players in the market. Their experience and strategy means this company is here to stay and remain one step ahead of the game.
PES: Welcome PES Wind magazine. Thanks for talking with us. Would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of Pro-Drone and how you currently serve the wind industry?
André Moura: Pro-Drone was born out of our desire to contribute to the efficiency of the wind energy sector by modernising the blade inspection procedures and empowering asset owners by providing them with high quality data. Our team has a very diverse background including robotics, aeronautical engineering, computer science and data management systems.
Founded in 2015, we have carried out inspections in Europe and South America totalling over 1500 blades over the last 8 months. Our aim is to be established globally by the end of 2018.
PES: We were wondering why Pro-Drone decided to focus on wind turbine inspection with the UAVs?
AM: I was involved with offshore maintenance operations of wind energy assets, which is where I became familiar with the costly and cumbersome logistics of accessing wind blades for inspection. It was also clear to me that the industry was turning towards focusing its efforts on optimising O&M costs and I saw an opportunity to improve the status quo of blade inspections.
Traditional inspection methods have clear setbacks regarding safety, downtime and data quality. UAV’s had the potential of disrupting this industry by offering high quality, repeatable and safe inspections in a short amount of time. However to deliver this automating inspection was the first and crucial step, as no pilot expertise is needed for this operation and this is what we achieved.
PES: We see your core values are robustness, safety and data accessibility could you explain what you mean by each of these?