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1682413200000 | Press Release

EnBW and DLR announce jury members for the Offshore Drone Challenge 2024

Registration for the challenge now open, high-caliber jury announced with representatives from the business world, the government and the science community
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The flight tasks for the Offshore Drone Challenge 2024 (Source: EnBW)

Stuttgart/Braunschweig/Copenhagen. On the occasion of WindEurope Copenhagen, which will bring together the wind energy industry from 25–27 April 2023, EnBW and its project partner, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), have announced the jury members for the Offshore Drone Challenge 2024 (ODC). The drone manufacturers and service providers entering the challenge can look forward to a highly qualified group of experts from the fields of aviation, insurance, urban air mobility, science, politics and wind energy.

Notable jury members

The jury, which will choose the successful entrants to the Offshore Drone Challenge 2024 being held next summer, is made up of the following members (listed in alphabetical order) :

Lucy Craig, DNV, Director, Growth, Innovation and Digital

Dr. Jan Dirks, BMDV, Deputy Head of the Unmanned Aviation Project Group at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport

Achim Friedl, President JEDA - Joint European Drone Associations and former Director at the German Federal Police Force

Helge Hackbarth, Lufthansa Industry Solutions, Executive Consultant and AI, Robotics und UAV Expert

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Köthe, Professor at the TH Wildau and CTO at AlphaLink Engineering

Michele Willams, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), Global Head of Risk Consulting

“We are delighted to have been able to secure such a versatile and experienced group of experts from the fields of manned and unmanned aviation, wind energy, insurance and urban air mobility for the jury for our Offshore Drone Challenge,” says Dr. Michael Splett, Head of Offshore Wind Operations at EnBW, who has recently become a member of the BMDV’s National Drone Advisory Board. “Our use case breaks new ground and brings together heavy-lift drones with offshore wind energy for the first time. With its multifaceted knowledge, this jury possesses the right expertise for the task.” As part of the Offshore Drone Challenge 2024,

drone manufacturers and service providers are invited to demonstrate their technology for transporting maintenance equipment to offshore wind farms. The ODC is embedded in the “Upcoming Drones Wind Farm” (UDW) research project. The research project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, is examining 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.

Applications now being accepted

The conditions of entry for the challenge and details of the specific flight tasks have already been defined and can be requested free of charge on the UDW website. The Offshore Drone Challenge 2024 is focusing on the practical testing of flight maneuvers that are relevant to the use case of operations and maintenance logistics for offshore wind farms. This includes software-related matters and structural modifications to enable a link to be established between the “drone” and “wind farm” systems. Applications from companies and research institutions can be submitted at until 31 July 2023. Up to seven entrants will then be selected by the UDW project team based on the following criteria: the aerial vehicle’s technical data, flight tests already completed, pioneering solutions, references and the suitability and strategic direction in terms of the offshore wind energy use case. Entrants will be selected in September 2023 and announced to the professional public.

A course with seven stages

The challenge will take place on land. Even though the later use case will be on the high seas, holding the challenge on land will not only be much simpler, safer and less expensive, but will also provide 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. These must be completed one after another and allow for the greatest degree of flexibility in terms of how they are accomplished. This will make it possible to take different levels of maturity into account with regard to the technology.

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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) in Saxony-Anhalt. The jury will crown the winner of the challenge after the practical section. As the leading trade fair for wind energy, Hamburg WindEnergy 2024 is the planned event for the official award ceremony.

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