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FCC video showcases pioneering drone inspection project in Barcelona

FCC has published a video highlighting its pioneering project Aerial Robot for Sewer Inspection (ARSI) which it is developing with Eurecat, in a consortium with other companies within the framework of the European Echord++ (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development).

The innovative micro airborne vehicle (drone) equipped with multiple sensors has been designed to speed up, facilitate and improve the inspection of Barcelona’s 1,500 km sewerage system. The intelligent robotic solution, that will help reduce human risk in the inspection process, will go into service across the city next year.

FCC’s Environment division has been managing, cleaning and maintaining Barcelona’s sewerage networks since 1911. The head of FCC Environment’s Technical Department in Barcelona, Raúl Hernández, explains in the video:

“These networks are difficult spaces to work in because they are relatively small and narrow, although they vary in size. The floors and surfaces are slippery, there’s no lighting at all, and sometimes there are even problems with gases.”

The drone has been equipped the following features to overcome these issues:

Sensors to monitor air and water quality
3D camera to calculate its position and speed
2D laser to detect walls and calculate flight paths in real time
Infrared sensor to measure its distance from the ground and control its altitude
Headlights to light up a pitch-dark environment
Optimisation of equipment performance to reduce battery consumption and achieve longer autonomy

Benefits to the technology Raúl Hernández explains in the video include:

health and safety – preventing lipping or posture risks
amount of information that can be acquired and consulted objectively for long periods of time
improved productivity by enabling faster completion of inspection tasks along the entire length of a sewer

The project is currently in the advanced prototype stage – “for FCC this technological solution provides safety and comfort in the tasks, as well as very significant improvements in productivity rates and reduced costs.” Raúl Hernández added.

The Director of the Eurecat Robotics Unit, Pepa Sedó said that this is the first time that the profitability of the use of drones in an activity such as the inspection of the sewage system has been analysed. From her point of view, “the great flexibility and manoeuvring capability of drones makes them ideal vehicles for subsoil inspection.”

The ARSI consortium consists of members from across the full value chain including: FCC Environment, Eurecat, a technology centre member of Tecnio with experience in autonomous robots for difficult environments, IBAK, a world leader in the creation of robots for sewerage inspection and Simtech Design, a company specialising in flying robots.

In June this year the project was recognised as a “Key Project” 2017 by Eurecat.





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