No landing required: The Eiger drone makes deliveries with pin-point accuracy

A successful test was done using the Eiger drone delivery system to support the maintenance of a turbine at Anholt Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of Denmark.
Jijo Malayil
Eiger drone with the payload
Eiger drone with the payload


How does one get accessories directly to a technician inside an offshore wind turbine? Swiss-based aerial logistics company Rigitech has the solution – A drone service that can drop a payload successfully with pin-point accuracy without the need for a touchdown. 

A test to this extent was successfully done by the firm using its Eiger drone delivery system on a mission to support the maintenance of a turbine at Anholt Offshore Wind Farm, located 20 sm (17 nm) off the coast of Denmark. This mission paved the way to check the precision and efficiency of deliveries, eliminating the need for landing and takeoff. 

To make it happen, the team had 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," said Adam Klaptocz, CEO of RigiTech, in a blog post from the company. 

Helps to minimize cost and system downtime

RigiTech's Eiger, equipped with the dropping system, offers a solution to the costly problem of turbine repairs caused by a lack of essential parts.

According to the team, instead of the service vessel having to make multiple trips between the shore and the turbines, which incurs significant time delays and consumes over 500 liters of diesel fuel, Eiger can swiftly deliver spare parts to Anholt's 111 offshore wind turbines within just 30 minutes. This efficient solution ensures that repairs can be completed on the same day, enhances safety for on-site technicians, and minimizes the downtime of the turbines.

The Eiger drone platform offered by RigiTech has been enhanced with an optional add-on, the cutting-edge dropping system prototype, which is the outcome of an innovative research and development project. Leveraging the remarkable precision target capability of Eiger, this advanced mechanism guarantees the accurate delivery of items to their desired destinations, optimizing operations and significantly reducing time consumption.

Eiger drone operations in versatile environments 

The Eiger is the firm's largest drone so far. It’s configured for nighttime operations and can power through winds up to 15 m/s (54 km/h). The system can cover long distances exceeding 62 miles (100 kilometers), seamlessly transporting goods between cities and reaching even the most remote and challenging locations. 

Advanced lighting technology ensures safe operations during the day and night. With a highly precise pitot tube and Real-Time Kinematic heading system resembling a rhino horn, the delivery system guarantees accurate navigation and heading control. Additionally, integrated cameras for target landing are currently in development, further enhancing capabilities. 

As a failsafe mechanism, the drone also has a parachute for emergency situations. Furthermore, payload boxes are designed to accommodate various items, including cartons and medical supplies, facilitating efficient and secure deliveries.

The firm could complete 40 flights offshore, with "multiple autonomous payload drops on top of the 95 m-high wind turbine located 30 km offshore, with a 100% success rate despite challenging wind conditions."

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board