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1679475600000 | Press Release

EnBW and DLR invite drone manufacturers and service providers to enter the Offshore Drone Challenge

Conditions of entry and flight tasks have been determined and registration is now open
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Flight tasks for the Offshore Drone Challenge in 2024. (Source: EnBW)

Stuttgart/Amsterdam. As part of Amsterdam Drone Week 2023, one of the most important industry events in Europe, EnBW and its project partner, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), have published the conditions of entry and the specific flight tasks for the Offshore Drone Challenge (ODC) for the first time.

As part of the Offshore Drone Challenge, drone manufacturers and service providers are invited to demonstrate their technologies for transporting maintenance equipment to offshore wind farms. The ODC is embedded in the “Upcoming Drones Wind Farm” (UDW) research project. The project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, is focusing on the use of transport drones in offshore wind farms. Its aim is to establish the conditions and steps necessary for running drone operations, initially for transporting materials and perhaps eventually also passengers.

Practical testing of flight maneuvers the most important milestone

On the occasion of Amsterdam Drone Week 2023, all interested parties will be informed of the conditions of entry for the challenge and given the specific flight tasks for the first time. Practical testing of flight maneuvers relevant to the use case covering operations and maintenance logistics for offshore wind farms is an essential milestone of the project. Both software aspects and structural modifications come into consideration here in order to link the “drone” and “wind farm” systems.

A total of up to seven entrants will be able to take part in the ODC. Legal entities – i.e., companies and research institutions – are eligible to enter. Private individuals may not enter. The application process involves submitting the relevant application documents by 31 July 2023; it is expected that participants will be informed in September 2023. Their selection is based on the following criteria: the aerial vehicle’s technical data, completed flight program and references as well as suitability and strategic direction in terms of the offshore wind energy use case.

Flight tasks determined

Even though the use case involves the field of offshore wind for eventual use on the high seas, the course will be completed on land. This will make it much simpler, safer and less expensive to organize, while still providing all the information needed in relation to the challenges associated with accomplishing the individual mission components.

The course consists of a total of seven stages, which must be completed one after another. The individual elements offer full flexibility in terms of how they are accomplished in order to allow for the technology’s varying degrees of maturity. The following schematic diagram shows the various stages.

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The practical flight days themselves will be held in June 2024. The venue is the National Experimental Test Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CSO). A jury of high-level representatives from the fields of aviation, insurance, UAM and wind energy will crown the winner after the practical section.

About EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG

EnBW is one of the largest energy companies in Germany and Europe with around 26,000 employees. It supplies around 5.5 million customers with electricity, gas, water as well as services and products in the areas of infrastructure and energy. The installed output of renewable energies will reach 50 percent of the entire portfolio by the end of 2025. This is already having a noticeable effect on reducing CO2 emissions, which EnBW aims to halve by 2030. EnBW aims to be climate neutral by 2035. www.enbw.com

EnBW R&D is systematically exploring innovative wind energy technologies. In the SkyPower100 project (FKZ 032417A-D), the company is collaborating with SkySails to examine aspects of the commercialization of airborne wind energy. In the Nezzy2 project, EnBW is collaborating with aerodyn to explore the potential of a floating foundation with a self-aligning downwind double rotor. The Global Blockage Effect Baltic 2 project used scanning LIDAR to perform a measuring campaign and verify DNV’s wind field simulations in order to isolate the GBE from other influencing factors. The company is also involved in a large number of international Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) projects. EnBW works as a major operator with various maintenance concepts that are subject to ongoing development. Offshore Operations is constantly examining innovations for incorporation into its work processes (e.g., VR in training, robotics in inspection).

About the German Aerospace Center (DLR)

DLR is the Federal Republic of Germany's research centre for aeronautics and space. DLR conducts research and development activities in the fields of aeronautics, space, energy, transport, security and digitalisation. The German Space Agency at DLR plans and implements the national space programme on behalf of the federal government. Two DLR project management agencies oversee funding programmes and support knowledge transfer.


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