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18-01-2022

Flood protection with underwater drones?

Written by Karst Beens

Last week we explained the flood protection in Germany in more detail. This week we want to explain how the use of underwater drones can, theoretically, provide support in these situations.

During all the events last year, we found some uses of our drones that we think can support flood protection. In no way do we want to presume to improve or revolutionize flood protection. Nevertheless, we believe that the use of underwater drones can help in places for work relief and more efficiency.

 

Indirect aid from ROVS

Our drones can help especially in the area of protection against floods. This part of flood protection is preventive. Mostly, the protection consists of structural measures to hold back the water.

Of course, our drones cannot help to build these measures. But. We can help to inspect them to be sure that flood retention basins and dams are in tact.

 

Hochwasserrückhaltebecken - Kanton Aargau    Hochwasserrückhaltebecken - Wasserwirtschaftsamt Kempten

 

In the two pictures you can see an example of a flood control reservoir. Our drones can swim through the culvert and inspect all parts of the reservoir, ensuring that no cracks have occurred. For dams, the inspection works the same way. The only difference is that dams are not only used for flood control. The dam is often used for water (energy) production as well.

In addition to flood control reservoirs and dams, there are also simpler belly measures, but they still need to be inspected. The main task, however, remains the retention of water. These measures can be inspected in two groups: Dams and walls. Walls are masonry or stacked stones or concrete. Whereas dams consist of fills, which are then sealed from the outside or inside with concrete, clay or similar.

 

In this video we show how we inspect a concrete dam wall. With the laser scaler in the video, we measure damage directly on site. This facilitates the reperation. In addition, it is clear in this video that visibility under water is almost non-existent. Therefore, in these situations, we usually switch from the camera to the sonar. If desired, both images can also run side by side on two screens, thus creating a detailed condition survey.
Floods are becoming more likely and more severe, so it is even more important that all measures are always in good condition. With our drones, inspections can be carried out faster and more cost-effectively than an inspection with divers. As a result, more inspections and preventive inspections can be carried out. By transmitting the images live to the controller, the inspection also becomes more accurate than an inspection that must rely on the feel of the diver.

Through this indirect assistance, our drones cannot resolve emergency situations. Nevertheless, they can make work easier and indirectly contribute to the prevention of flooding.

 

Direct aid from ROVs

Although inspections are only an indirect way to help flood control, there are also direct ways for us to help in emergency situations.

Bestand:Hochwasser Mueglitz Schlottwitz 113-1367 IMG.JPG - Wikipedia

In this picture, you get an impression of the power of the water. The search for people, is hardly possible for divers. But as seen in the Arthal, the first missing people must be searched quickly. Our drones can help with this!

We have been supporting the search and rescue service, Signi Search Dogs, with our drones for quite some time. You can read more about it here. Especially with sonar, we don’t need visibility underwater to search for missing persons. As soon as the first currents are weakened, our drones can be easily lowered into the water from boats, bridges or other places.

 

This quick readiness, not only helps to get a clearer view of events underwater. Our drones can also more quickly find people who have been dragged along by the currents. In the end, lives can be saved!

For us it is important to make it clear that these capabilities are only our ideal vision. We hope to further elaborate and apply them in the following years. We want, if possible, to completely prevent or mitigate disasters like the one in Arthal. And we believe that the use of underwater drones could be a good addition to the current methods.

 

Do you have further questions about our flood protection ideas?

Contact us here. Or follow us on social media.

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