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Technology

The AI based software technology of TOPseven enables automated drone based inspections for on- and offshore wind turbines.

Our technology

The TOPseven software is founded on an interactive 3D and geo-referencing engine, used for over 20 years in various industrial applications. TOPseven has extended this engine to create a user-friendly solution for automated drone inspection for on- and offshore wind turbines.

AI and cloud based software

TOPseven DrohneDue to the rapid development of software and hardware, todays drones carry out inspections of industrial plants at lower costs. As a specialist in 3D software development, TOPseven has optimized this technology and takes the drone based inspection to a new level.

Our drone based inspections fly autonomously from take-off to landing. The exact flight route is calculated in advance, assisted by AI.

Functionality

Before the inspection, our patent-protected 3D measurement of the wind turbine is performed by an automatic calibration mission with AI assistance. This “3D dimensioning” of the wind turbine takes about 20 minutes and calculates the exact dimensions and location of the wind turbine (e.g: hub height, hub diameter, alignment of the wind turbine, blade length, position of the blades, deflection of the blades, etc.). Based on this data a specific 3D CAD model is automatically generated and used for the calculation of flight waypoints. The TOPseven measurement algorithm enables the drone to take off in a centimeter exact reproducible way. For subsequent future inspections of the same wind turbine only requires a shorter calibration mission.

The autonomous inspection along the object is carried out with a minimum visual inspection distance of 3m calculated by the TOPseven inspection management software. The inspection distance determines the resolution and number of the images. This can be changed at any time before the inspection flight. Thus TOPseven sets new standards in precision, data quality and operability of drone based inspections.

Evaluation

After the images have been acquired by the automated flight, they are uploaded by the customer to the TOPseven cloud for further processing. There, the optimization for color and size of the images begins and presenting them to the customer on a 3D mapped view. The reviewer can inspect and exactly measure the surfaces, categorize any damages and automatically create a modular report.

Used hardware

TOPseven DJI DrohneTOPseven uses the high-precision multi-capabilities of the DJI Enterprise Series for both lightning protection measurement and visual inspection. The robust design of these drones and their groundbreaking flexibility allow a wide range of industry specific applications.

The DJI Enterprise UAV platform offers both special flight characteristics and the possibility of attaching a camera and the self-developed 3D field sensor for contactless lightning protection measurement to the gimbal as a payload. This allows inspections to be carried out at a temperature between -20 °C and + 50 °C and a maximum wind speed of 12 m/s. With a weight of up to 5 kg, the drone reaches a maximum flight time of 33 minutes.

The TOPseven camera control software automatically calculates exposure and focus, resulting in very high resolution and image quality. With the current DJI Zenmuse camera system, TOPseven achieves a resolution of 3 pixel/mm.

Lightning protection

In only a few minutes the TOPseven drone checks the lightning protection of the blades – contactless. Special sensors can detect any defects and exactly locate the interruption.

TOPseven Contactless Lightning Protection Signal GeneratorSignal generator

A TOPseven designed signal generator injects various high-frequency signals into the blades lightning conductor. The international patented process generates an electrical field with different frequencies and matching impedance values. The frequencies used lie in the ISM bands. Our patented process automatically adjusts the impedance of the lightning conductor (dependent on the length of the blade) to the signal generator. The signal generator has three outputs that all three blades can be connected simultaneously. For the measurement, the signal supply into the blades can be individually externally controlled.

TOPseven Contactless Lightning Protection Automated TroubleshootingPayload field sensor

This is a highly sensitive 3D electrical field sensor with extremely low bandwidth and high sampling rate. The TOPseven designed sensor payload is attached to the drone. The lightning conductor is damaged or interrupted if the sensor measures a weak or no signal at the blades tip. The sensor measures the intensity of the electric near field in three dimensions at a 10 Hz sampling rate. The received signals are evaluated via a Fourier analysis, which generates precise results about the state of the lightning protection and, in case of an interruption, its exact position.