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Detection of underground water distribution pipes by a UAV embedded GPR system, France

Integrated Systems
August 1, 2021

Innotech-Drone, a partner of SPH Engineering in France, has developed a drone embedded GPR with UgCS to detect underground water distribution pipes lines detection. The system includes a multi-rotor heavy-lift drone, a 500mHz GPR system, and all necessary accessories and software.

Traditionally, underground water distribution pipeline detection is done by using a GPR cart. However, this tool has several limitations including the low-speed movement, the difficulty in accessing areas above the pipeline, no-automatic mission, etc. To avoid these limitations and improve the efficiency of survey missions, a drone-embedded GPR with UgCS was introduced by Innotech-Drone.

The location of pipeline after post-processing of data collected with a UAV © Innotech-Drone

The system has been tested in Teillé, France with our client Balé SE. The water pipeline is a plastic pipe which has been buried 1m underground. The drone has been equipped with a lidar sensor for terrain following.

‘We have flown with a GPR mounted on a drone first. We have then measured the pipeline by GPR cart and compared the difference of geolocation. We have found there are 20cm differences on average between the two measurements. The errors might come from the GPS accuracy and the GPR. To improve the accuracy, we will activate the RTK for georeferencing the data’, Haixing HE, Sales Director & Co-Founder at Innotech-Drone, explained.