The job of sewer workers in Barcelona could be about to become much easier with the aid of a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (sewer drones) tasked with inspecting the city's vast network of underground tunnels. Sewer drones could take over the tricky inspection work within two years, if a scheme in Barcelona, Spain gets the go-ahead. The plan is to launch a fleet of flying "sewer drones" which would inspect the state of the city’s sewers, as well as measuring air and water quality and keeping track of the state of the walls and blockages.
The drones would, at least in part, replace sewer workers, who do an unpleasant and, often, dangerous job patrolling the city’s dirty underbelly. As well as limiting the risks to people working in the sewers, the drones would provide more precise inspections and even reduce the cost of cleaning, according to the project’s founders.
"This is the first time we have researched the profitability of using drones in this kind of activity," Daniel Serrano, of Eurecat, one of the companies taking part in the project, told Spain's El País newspaper.
Other groups making up the team include German robotics company Ibak and drone operator Simtech Design, as well as the FCC, which currently looks after Barcelona’s 1,500km long network of sewers.
Drones would be controlled from a van on the surface and people would only have to descend into the sewers to change the flying machines' batteries.
The first trials of the project took place on December 1st, which will be followed by more rigorous testing in the coming months.
Source: The Local es