MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2017
A drone to inspect Barcelona’s sewerage network
The new vehicle to start being used in Barcelona next year.
The usage of drones for sewerage inspection will reduce risks and maintenance costs.
ARSI project takes part of ECHORD++ program (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development).
The Spanish companies FCC and Simtech Design, Eurecat technology centre (part of Tecnio) and the German IBAK takes part in the ARSI European project, which stands for ‘Aerial Robot for Sewer Inspection’ and has designed, created and tested a new drone to inspect and maintain the public sewerage network. The vehicle is due to start its services in 2018 in Barcelona. ARSI project takes part of ECHORD++ program (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development).
The consortium has successfully tested a micro aerial vehicle (MAV), multirotor and equipped with navigation sensors, which will reduce labour risks associated with this activity and cut maintenance costs, thanks to quicker and more precise inspections. The new device can reach parts that terrestrial vehicles cannot, due to dust and rainwater.
Eurecat’s Robotics Unit director, Pepa Sedó, explains that the project is “at the stage of improving the autonomy of the vehicles, which will work autonomously in September this year at the laboratory and will be fully operational in September 2018”.
According to Sedó, “a drone can inspect 300 metres in 10 minutes”, which makes her predict a team using a drone will be able to inspect 2.4 kilometres per day, “with a drastic reduction on costs and inconveniences”.
The Eurecat’s Robotics Unit director says it is “the first time the profitability on the use of drones for sewage cleaning is studied”, for which manual inspection faces many problems caused by physical obstacles, including the terrain itself.
Under her view, “the great flexibility and manoeuvrability of the drones makes them ideal for inspecting the underground, because they don’t require the authorisation of the Spanish Aerial Navigation Authority to fly”.
The vehicles can now work on tunnels up to 80 centimeters width and tall, but project researchers are working to change these limitations and make them fly further. The team is currently focused on improving the drones’ battery life and make it more versatile.
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