Access to certain facilities, like pipelines, can be difficult, or even unsafe for the technicians who work on them. But routine operations, such as maintenance and inspections, are still necessary.
© Jérôme Meyer-Bisch
A problem that could be solved by the development of 3D mapping technologies and the more frequent use of drones. This was the idea behind the development of the 3D Drone project by the French start-up Jarriquez, founded by five former students from EFREI, in collaboration with SUEZ. After trials in the underground networks below Paris (1), the drone explored and produced 3D maps of industrial sites (tunnels, sewers, dams, bridges, buildings, etc.), and of sites that have suffered damage or are not readily accessible. Precise and effective even in the dark, the four-rotor drone, measuring 80cm, can cover 200m in 10 minutes, while producing high-quality 3D maps in real time (2). The sensors installed on the drone, the onboard computer and the laser allow the drone to operate independently, with minimal human intervention.
The results of the 3D Drone project are conclusive. Operators of water, wastewater and sanitation networks from all over the world have already shown an interest in this useful tool, capable of quickly and efficiently scanning in confined spaces, while limiting risks to human beings.