RigiTech, in collaboration with Danish autonomous systems operator Holo and logistics company DSV, has achieved a significant milestone in drone delivery. The partners successfully conducted a transport test aimed at supporting offshore wind farm maintenance for energy company Ørsted. This achievement builds upon their previous drone delivery testing at the Anholt Offshore Wind Farm in Denmark in 2022. Now, the Swiss aerial logistics company has unveiled an advanced precision dropping system prototype that improves the efficiency and accuracy of deliveries, eliminating the need for landing and takeoff.
Turbine repairs in offshore wind farms often face delays and increased costs due to the unavailability of necessary parts. The traditional approach requires the service vessel to return to shore and then travel back out, resulting in significant time delays and consuming substantial amounts of fuel. However, RigiTech's Eiger drone, equipped with the newly developed dropping system, can deliver spare parts to the 111 offshore wind turbines at Anholt within just 30 minutes. This ensures same-day repairs, enhances safety for on-site technicians, and minimizes turbine downtime.
The seamless integration of drone delivery into existing workflows is made possible through RigiCloud, the company's centralized software infrastructure, and the Eiger drone's fully autonomous capabilities. Local warehouse staff load the spare parts onto the drone, while beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations are supervised remotely by Holo in Copenhagen, hundreds of kilometers away. The Eiger provides live video streaming, enabling real-time monitoring of each delivery by both Holo and Ørsted warehouse staff.
This fully-electric logistics solution represents RigiTech's commitment to offering a commercially viable and environmentally friendly product that can be deployed by industrial sites and wind farms worldwide.
The dropping system prototype, designed as an optional add-on to the Eiger platform, is the result of an innovative research and development project. Leveraging the Eiger drone's precision target capability, this new mechanism ensures the accurate delivery of items to their intended destinations, streamlining operations and saving valuable time. The prototype is equipped with an automated connector that is remotely and automatically activated by RigiCloud to release the delivery pod once it reaches its destination.
Throughout the project, RigiTech and Holo conducted a total of 40 flights offshore, successfully completing multiple autonomous payload drops on top of the 95-meter-high wind turbine located 30 kilometers offshore. Despite challenging wind conditions, the team achieved a 100% success rate.
Adam Klaptocz, CEO of RigiTech, explained that the project started with a simple customer challenge: delivering parts directly to a technician inside a wind turbine. The solution involved the development of cutting-edge technologies, including AI-based flight planning algorithms, precision navigation in high-wind environments, computer vision, and sensor fusion algorithms. The results speak for themselves, with spare parts delivered with centimeter-level precision, fully autonomously, every time.
“This project started with a simple customer challenge: how do we get parts directly to a technician inside a wind turbine?” says Adam Klaptocz, CEO of RigiTech. “The solution was nothing but simple, and pushed us to develop multiple cutting-edge technologies, including AI-based flight planning algorithms, precision navigation in high-wind environments, computer vision and sensor fusion algorithms. The results speak for themselves; spare parts delivered with cm-level precision, fully autonomously, every time. Available today.”
RigiTech's network-first approach to product development, facilitated by RigiCloud and the reliable Eiger platform, enables scalable drone delivery as a sustainable business model. The centralized software infrastructure ensures remote and compliant communications, flight tracking, and fleet maintenance management, ensuring seamless operations. The successful performance of the dropping system prototype opens up exciting possibilities for future use cases and encourages the adoption of this technology in other industrial sectors, as well as healthcare and humanitarian logistics.