Power & Energy Solutions

The premier renewable energy publication

Peak inspection records

SkySpecs CTO, Tom Brady, dropped in to catch us up with the latest developments in the use of drones for inspections. It has been quite a year for them, with record breaking numbers of inspections in the fastest time. This company is wowing the industry.

PES: Welcome back to PES Wind magazine. Thanks for talking with us. For our new readers would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of SkySpecs and how you currently serve the wind industry?

Tom Brady: Thank you to PES for taking the time to speak with us! SkySpecs is an automated diagnostics and maintenance provider for smart grid applications. We’re a team of engineers obsessed with applying our robotics expertise to problems faced by owners and operators of energy infrastructure.

Today, we serve the wind industry with a drone-based blade inspection solution. Our drones are completely automated, requiring only the push of a single button to collect photos of all four sides of each of the three blades of a wind turbine in 20 minutes or less. We’ve conducted over 3,000 inspections this year, saved our customers thousands of hours of downtime, and identified tens of thousands of instances of damage that owners can use to make better decisions about repair.

PES: We know that the use of drones is rapidly growing, what has changed since we last spoke?

TB: It’s encouraging to see drones delivering real business value across a variety of sectors.

In my opinion, there are two reasons that drone use has become pervasive across industries. First, off-the-shelf GPS waypoint-following technology has substantially lowered the training and experience barrier for drone operators readily solving the data collection problem in several industry sectors; agriculture and construction are two examples. What used to take hundreds of hours of piloting experience can now be done with just the click of a few buttons.

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