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The ARSI project, in which FCC participates, awarded by Eurecat as “Relevant Project”


The ARSI project, in which FCC participates, awarded by Eurecat as “Relevant Project”

The Barcelona Technology Centre, Eurecat, has awarded the “Relevant Project” prize to the ARSI project (Aerial Robot for Sewer Inspection). FCC Medio Ambiente and Eurecat, in a consortium with other companies within the framework of the European Echord++ (European Coordination Hub for Open Robotics Development), are responsible for the project.



The ARSI project, in which FCC participates, awarded by Eurecat as “Relevant Project”

The prize was received on behalf of FCC Medio Ambiente at the Future Industry congress by the head of the company’s Technical Department in Barcelona, Raul Hernández, who thanked everyone in FCC who collaborated in the project for this recognition. “It is an honour for me that an organisation such as Eurecat has awarded us this prize. It has been a real pleasure to work with all the partners in the consortium, especially Eurecat, who are great professionals with enormous technical capacity and an unbeatable attitude.” Hernández ended his speech by saying that, “we hope this collaboration will be the start of a great relationship and will provide a succession of innovations in our services.”

CEO of FCC Group, Carlos M. Jarque, said that, “one of the most important changes today is the confluence of the physical infrastructure with the information infrastructure, giving rise to ‘intelligent infrastructure’. FCC is at the leading edge of this matter, as shown by the ARSI drone.”

About the ARSI project

The ARSI project involves an automatic and innovative flying vehicle (drone) equipped with multiple sensors that speeds up, facilitates and improves the inspection of Barcelona’s sewers. It involves the introduction into the city of a pioneering, intelligent and efficient robotic solution that will be operational next year.

The sewerage system is one of a city’s main pieces of infrastructure but its inspection requires a large amount of human resources who must work in a confined and dangerous environment with unhealthy conditions. Special safety measures are needed to guarantee their safety and minimise the risk of physical and biological hazards, involving a large number of workers, slow operating procedures and very rigorous protection elements.
With the design of a multi-rotor flying platform equipped with sensors for semi-automatic navigation and data acquisition, the ARSI project solves the difficulties of the service and provides added value in the following points:

  • It avoids the need for work teams to enter complicated and potentially dangerous areas.
  • It reduces direct labour but generates new jobs which require higher qualifications.
  • It offers quicker inspections due to its high manoeuvrability and ease of avoiding obstacles and uneven floors.
  • Its small size allows the inspection of sections less than 1 m wide.
  • It enhances the collection and handling of data on the sewerage system with a holistic approach for integrating the sensors’ results in existing information platforms.

As the head of FCC Medio Ambiente’s Technical Department in Barcelona, Raúl Hernández, explains, “we must be aware that today the provision of a good service is based on the exhaustive knowledge of the infrastructure involved. The increasingly frequent need for all the data on the condition of the sewerage system is a demand of councils for which there is no answer in the market. The combination of experience with the different organisational capabilities to create ARSI is an example of success that we will certainly repeat in the future. Perhaps the most difficult technical challenges were the lack of communications coverage underground and the limited autonomy and mobility in such a difficult environment as the underground sewerage systems.”

“The project is now in the advanced prototype phase and for FCC this technological solution will provide safety and comfort in the work, very important improvements in the productivity rates and cost reductions,” he adds.

The Director of the Eurecat Robotics Unit, Pepa Sedó, noted that, "this is the first time that the profitability of using drones in an activity such as sewerage inspection has been analysed” since the annual inspection presented various problems due to the uneven terrain full of obstacles. From her point of view, “the great flexibility and manoeuvrability of drones makes them ideal vehicles for underground inspections.”

About the consortium

This consortium fully covers the value chain including the following partners: FCC Medio Ambiente, an international market leader providing environmental services in urban areas, which has managed the Barcelona sewerage system since 1911, Eurecat, a technology centre member of Tecnio with experience in autonomous robots for difficult environments, IBAK, a world leader in the creation of robots for sewerage inspection and Simtech Design, a company specialising in flying robots.