Multi-Robot Coverage Path Planning for the Inspection of Offshore Wind Farms: A Review

Ashley J.I. Foster, Mario Gianni, Amir Aly, Hooman Samani, Sanjay Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Offshore wind turbine (OWT) inspection research is receiving increasing interest as the sector grows worldwide. Wind farms are far from emergency services and experience extreme weather and winds. This hazardous environment lends itself to unmanned approaches, reducing human exposure to risk. Increasing automation in inspections can reduce human effort and financial costs. Despite the benefits, research on automating inspection is sparse. This work proposes that OWT inspection can be described as a multi-robot coverage path planning problem. Reviews of multi-robot coverage exist, but to the best of our knowledge, none captures the domain-specific aspects of an OWT inspection. In this paper, we present a review on the current state of the art of multi-robot coverage to identify gaps in research relating to coverage for OWT inspection. To perform a qualitative study, the PICo (population, intervention, and context) framework was used. The retrieved works are analysed according to three aspects of coverage approaches: environmental modelling, decision making, and coordination. Based on the reviewed studies and the conducted analysis, candidate approaches are proposed for the structural coverage of an OWT. Future research should involve the adaptation of voxel-based ray-tracing pose generation to UAVs and exploration, applying semantic labels to tasks to facilitate heterogeneous coverage and semantic online task decomposition to identify the coverage target during the run time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • coverage path planning
  • multi-robot
  • offshore wind
  • structural inspection
  • UAV


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