ACWA probes canalization - La Provence

Posted 9/02/2019 in News


ACWA Robotics, a young Corsican bud, now accompanied by the Cleantech du Technopôle de l’Arbois à Aix incubator, is developing a robot that can circulate through drinkable water pipelines. This completely autonomous engine that brings together technological robots, both AI and digital, allows for precise mapping of a network, to produce a diagnostic report of its state, and to measure a number of parameters essential to its management (canal thickness, pressure levels in different spots) summarize, this smart robot is capable of locating and identifying leaks in the network.

When we know that one out of five liters of drinkable water in France is lost in pipeline leaks, which accounts for an impressive total of 1,300 billion liters of water (or 430,000 Olympic pools) per year, focusing on this type of robot can allow for serious water and monetary savings, through better targeting of interventions and network repairs.

Jean-François Rossi, 54 years old, IT specialist and company director (the business technician), and Jean-François Guiderdoni, 48 years old, who worked in new technologies (the business developer), have combined forces to develop this technology. “You know”, explains Jean-François Rossi, “we lose between 20 and 30% of drinkable water in pipelines, sometimes even more in certain regions. These are figures that really make you think! I started asking myself the question. A number of pipelines are aging. We replace 0.6% of the network per year (1% in Marseille), but it’s not enough. The cost of maintenance and renewal of networks oscillates between 150 and 250,000 euros per kilometer.”

A Robot able to move inside pipes

“A lot of technologies are already working on leaks”, Jean-François Guiderdoni reminds us. “But our robot is capable of circulating inside pipelines, to take measurements, to map the network, to precisely locate leaks in order to optimize repairs. This is important when considering that 40% of work is irrelevant. We’re not always searching in the right place. Our robot goes through the pipelines, without cutting off the water, and takes photos. It works completely autonomously, without any cable, and it can resist pressure of 16 to 20 bars and a flow speed of 2m/s.” Winner of the i-Lab innovation competition in 2019, the young, budding ACWA Robotics is in the process of getting two certifications. “We’re onto something promising”, claim the two associates, “We worry about what we’re going to leave behind for the planet. Water is a strategic subject. The average price for a cubic meter of water is 4 euros, and an average family consumption is estimated to be 120 m³ per year, meaning a budget of about 500 euros. Water is going to cost exceedingly more for families.” It’s time to act now!

"Full scale tests" with Société du canal de Provence

The two co-founders continue to work and develop their robot on the Island of Beauty, but will go back and forth to the mainland. “We’re getting on the 5th prototype, and we’re leading large-magnitude tests with our three partners (the company Canal de Provence, the Bastia water company, and the the community of the Sartenais-Valinco-Taravo areas) with a market launch planned for the end of 2020.”

“Actually, it’s the intervention that we’re selling, between 1,500 and 15,000€ per kilometer of pipelines explored based on the missions, analyses and measurements needed”, continues Jean-François Guiderdoni. “We’re going to work with our partners to figure out what their needs are.” According to a 2014 study of 60 million consumers, led by the France Libertés foundation, the rate of leakage in France is on average 3,400 liters per day for each of the 850,000 kilometers of water pipelines throughout the country. According to the association, to avoid this huge waste, between 1.5 and 2 million euros per year will be necessary to do the necessary work, which would be twice the current rhythm.

This article was originally published in the La Provence journal.
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