Wind Turbine Inspection using Hammer Missions
Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Hammer Missions is a drone flight planning and 3D mapping software platform designed for the commercial drone industry. We support a large number of mission types on both mobile tablets through Hammer App and web-based environments through Hammer Hub.
Whatever the mission, Hammer Missions can adapt to it and help you capture & process the best possible data.
In this tutorial, we will focus on wind turbine inspections, just one of the many different inspection missions supported by Hammer.
Wind Turbine Inspection
This type of inspection is useful for aligning your drone directly in front of the turbine blades for closer inspection and analysis using a visual or thermal camera.
In this mission, Hammer generates a flight plan based on key GPS points input by the pilot. These key GPS points are typically the waypoints involved in the flight trajectory depending on the blade positions of the wind turbine, and the type of inspection undertaken. Hammer joins the input GPS points into a single smooth trajectory, maintains the drone orientation as input by the pilot and takes photos at the set distance interval.
In the figures below - Points A, B, C, D...G, and H, I represent key GPS points.
To ensure maximum safety, it's important that the key GPS points are input by the pilot by first flying and positioning drone manually.
Steps to Create
Connect the drone to the Hammer App
Tap on the new mission file icon to create a new mission file.
In the example below you will see that we have created a new mission file called 'Beckton Wind Farm'
Open the mission file and tap on the add (+) button in the top right corner of the side panel. Highlighted here in red.
Choose 'Turbine Inspection' from the available missions.
You will be notified in the top right that you must 'Fly and capture points using back right button. Then Tap OK' as highlighted below in red.
Fly the drone to the 'first key GPS point' of the wind turbine. Ensure the drone's orientation is such that the blade is 'clearly visible'. Tap on the back right button on your controller to input this position.
Then fly the drone to the 'second key GPS' point of the flight plan. Ensure the drone's orientation is such that the blade is 'clearly visible'. Tap on the back right button of the controller to input this position.
Repeat the last two stages for all key GPS points. As shown in the picture below - Points A, B, C, D...G, and H, I represent key GPS points.
Image courtesy of DJI Enterprise
Tap OK in the right-hand panel when done as highlighted in red below.
Steps to Configure
Tap on the white gear icon on the mission you wish to configure.
This will open a settings menu.
Configuring the wind turbine inspection mission
The settings are as follows:
Camera Type: The camera that is attached to the drone for the inspection or the drone itself (as a percentage of drones have a prefixed camera). Hammer will use this camera's focal length and field of view to estimate the image footprint on the turbine surface.
Take Photo Every: The distance interval (in metres) between photos.
Distance to Turbine: Estimated perpendicular distance to the turbine blades or hub. Enter a value here which best represents the distance of the drone from the turbine. Note - This parameter is used for overlap calculations only!
Image Overlap: The amount of overlap between images. Note - Changing this value might affect the 'Take Photo Every' parameter mentioned earlier as the amount of overlap between images and the distance to the turbine is used to calculate 'Take Photo Every' metres parameter.
Start Point Number: This lets you choose which number on your map you wish to start taking photos from. Each point is individually numbered.
Once you've configured the mission settings, you can then configure the drone settings, such as the drone speed and the Go Home Height (higher than the turbine height!)
Steps to Simulate
Once you are finished creating and configuring the mission, land and disconnect the drone. Now press play to start a simulation.
Hammer will prompt you to add a simulator, press OK and choose a home location for the simulation. Then press OK.
The simulation will begin and you’ll see a simulated drone appear on the screen flying the wind turbine inspection mission.
This allows you to check that the mission has been configured properly and the expected behaviour of the drone during flight.
Steps to Fly
Once you are happy with the created mission, simply connect your drone to Hammer through the USB port on the remote controller.
You’ll see a drone icon appear on the screen at its current location.
Takeoff and position the drone close to the mission start point.
Press Play to start the mission.
Press Pause anytime to pause the mission, and play to resume the mission.
Once you've collected the data, we recommend using Hammer Hub to sift through the images and annotate your findings. This data can also be shared with your client or stakeholder, please see or post Sharing Your Data Projects in Hammer Missions for further information. Alternatively, you can run your data through AI-based defect detection software to speed up your analysis process.
We recommend using Hammer Hub to sift through the images and annotate your findings
If you'd like to learn more about data processing options, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that is how you Inspect Wind Turbines with Hammer Missions
We hope this post was helpful in learning how to use Hammer App for Wind Turbine Inspection. If you haven't got a Hammer account as of yet and would like to try Hammer, you can get started on our free trial.
To learn more about our enterprise solutions, including mission collaboration, data processing and AI solutions, please contact us at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you.
- The Hammer Team