Innovation project has shown great potential for drone inspection – and created a new company

31. January 2023

A more efficient and better inspection of large structures and a start-up company that has just hired its fourth employee. The innovation project Quali Drone has created strong results.

It is not just the drones in the innovation project Quali Drone that take to the skies to inspect large structures for the wind industry.

There is also flying height for the start-up company Quali Drone, which has grown out of the project – owner and director Jesper Smit has just hired his fourth employee in the company, which works with autonomous drone inspection:

“The project has shown the potential of offshore wind, which we initially focused on. But also in the rest of the energy sector, there is attention to what we can do, and the project has also received inquiries from other industries where inspection at height is a challenge,” he says.

Completely new perspectives

For the project partner Zebicon, which has supplied industrial measuring technology for the innovation project, CEO Jeppe Hebsgaard Laursen sees a significant potential, which ‘… can open up a whole new wing for the company’:

“We have confirmed that there is a great security perspective and business potential in the project. We have established a workflow where we have been able to solve the challenges that exist – and we can see that it is within reach for us in a few years to have a strong product on the market. We believe that together with Quali Drone we can become the market leader on this, and we believe that this collaboration can open up a whole new wing for us as a company,” he says.

In the same vein is another of the project’s SMEs; Desupervised. The company has contributed to developing the AI algorithm in the project, and CCO Jens Skoustrup-Jacobsen sees strong opportunities:

“It will develop our company because we now have both knowledge and something practical that can be used in other solutions. It can bring value in both the short and long term for the company,” he says.

Potential for more research

The companies’ positive future expectations please Project Director Christian Boysen, Energy Cluster Denmark. He describes the project as ‘a textbook example’ of how clusters can lift good ideas for sought-after solutions to specific challenges up the TRL ladder:

“Bladt Industries formulated a concrete challenge; we invited SMEs and DTU Wind in and shared good ideas; Completed a proof of concept in a quick Regional Fund project and found out that it was actually possible to save quite a lot on solving the task with drones rather than manually,” says Christian Boysen:

“Now the project has demonstrated a solution that makes it possible to replace heavy, manual processes and make it faster and cheaper. A new company has been created and strong prospects have been created for two existing companies. It’s pretty optimal,” he says.

Even though the project has come to a great end, DTU Wind still sees many opportunities in building on the knowledge gained from participating: “The project has confirmed that there are so many opportunities in these technologies – now and in the future. It generates a lot of new ideas for new things we can use it for,” says Kim Branner, Head of Section Structural Design & Testing:

“The prospects for digitalization in the energy sector are enormous, and we have only just scratched the surface. There is a lot of idea in continuing to work,” he says.