Cost-Benefit Assessment Framework for Robotics-Driven Inspection of Floating Offshore Wind Farms

Omer Khalid, Guangbo Hao, Hamish Macdonald, Aubryn Cooperman, Fiona McAuliffe, Cian Desmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Operations and maintenance (O&M) of floating offshore wind farms (FOWFs) poses various challenges in terms of greater distances from the shore, harsher weather conditions, and restricted mobility options. Robotic systems have the potential to automate some parts of the O&M leading to continuous feature-rich data acquisition, operational efficiency, along with health and safety improvements. There remains a gap in assessing the techno-economic feasibility of robotics in the FOWF sector. This paper investigates the costs and benefits of incorporating robotics into the O&M of a FOWF. A bottom-up cost model is used to estimate the costs for a proposed multi-robot platform (MRP). The MRP houses unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to conduct the inspection of specific FOWF components. Emphasis is laid on the most conducive O&M activities for robotization and the associated technical and cost aspects. The simulation is conducted in Windfarm Operations and Maintenance cost-Benefit Analysis Tool (WOMBAT), where the metrics of incurred operational expenditure (OPEX) and the inspection time are calculated and compared with those of a baseline case consisting of crew transfer vessels, rope-access technicians, and divers. Results show that the MRP can reduce the inspection time incurred, but this reduction has dependency on the efficacy of the robotic system and the associated parameterization e.g., cost elements and the inspection rates. Conversely, the increased MRP day rate results in a higher annualized OPEX. Residual risk is calculated to assess the net benefit of incorporating the MRP. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis is conducted to find the key parameters influencing the OPEX and the inspection time variation. A key output of this work is a robust and realistic framework which can be used for the cost-benefit assessment of future MRP systems for specific FOWF activities.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalWind Energy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-86662


  • cost estimation
  • floating offshore wind farm
  • operations and maintenance
  • robotics


Dive into the research topics of 'Cost-Benefit Assessment Framework for Robotics-Driven Inspection of Floating Offshore Wind Farms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this