A Rolling Drone for Sewer Inspection

Checking on the state of sewer networks is not an easy business. They are mainly underground with small diameter pipes so the process requires a lot of resources, such as high definition video embedded in mobile systems able to resist hostile environments. Cleaning them is even more difficult as it requires heavy equipment like high-pressure, high-power pumps. The question that the CEA and SARP Veolia asked then was what would make this process easier and more cost-efficient? They began an R&D partnership in 2014 to answer this question, and the autonomous robot PREDIRE is the outcome.

PREDIRE can cover up to 1.2 kilometers daily in a network with diameters from 20 to 30 cm, equivalent to 70% of the French wastewater network. It takes an HD photograph every 10 seconds, increasing efficiency when it comes to inspecting the network as the areas that need to be cleaned are identified right away. PREDIRE’s propulsion system is based on the Archimedes’ screw allowing it move on different types of terrain, from muddy to sandy. This system that is protected by two patents.

About the Author

Monica Hutchings is a Canadian writer and translator from Toronto who has worked on everything from technical descriptions to academic journals. She is our in-house copy editor.

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