ANU to Trial Intelligent Drones in World First Automated Inspection of Solar Power Plants

Fatih Porikli
Monday 2 May 2016

The project announced as part of the latest round of industry-researcher collaboration funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will develop a cost-effective robotic inspection system for automated monitoring of concentrating solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) power plants using cameras mounted on ground and aerial drones.

Lead researcher Dr. Fatih Porikli is excited about this project, says "using drones for automated inspection is a positive step towards a more efficient and productive society by leveraging on recent improvements in robotics and intelligent computer vision technologies.”

This is the first time in the world that a flock of drones carrying optical sensors, such as optical, polarization and thermal cameras, laser scanners, empowered by intelligent computer vision solutions will be used for automated inspection of solar power plant facilities.

“It provides a perfect balance between the three pillars of innovation: fundamental scientific challenge, necessity arising from real problems, and opportunity to have a direct impact in wealth creation.”

Advanced data driven and deep learning based visual data analysis techniques will contribute to the accuracy of measurement and detection

“Improving their energy production capacity and decreasing the long-term operating expenses will make large-scale solar power plant facilities more attractive investments and therefore boost Australian renewable and clean energy sector, promising a less polluted and much brighter future for all Australians. The specific visual inspection technology has potential to provide automated and affordable inspection solutions for smaller-scale household roof-top PV installations, which is another first in the world as well.”

Updated:  1 June 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing