Based in Toulouse (South of France), Acti-Geo is a surveying firm offering a wide range of services including topography, photogrammetry, bathymetry and much more. A CADDEN customer since 2010, the firm was already equipped with a bathymetric sounder integrated on a water-stable boat, used in conjunction with QPS’s Qinsy software.
This installation had its limitations and, over time, carrying out bathymetric surveys with a crew and all the necessary equipment on board became unthinkable. The major stumbling block was the time-consuming and energy-intensive launching and unlaunching of the boat.
Seduced by the USV concept, it was in 2018 that the firm took the plunge and decided to develop a prototype in-house with a start-up. From now on, the focus is on team safety, to minimize risks for operators and pilots, who must remain safely on the shore.
As a result, bathymetry missions are successfully carried out, even in remote areas such as quarries. The USV was a success until 2022, when it all came to an abrupt halt when the USV became unusable after a mission carried out near a structure with a strong current.
“Despite this heavy loss, we were nonetheless aware that, instead of destroyed equipment, lives could have been at stake. This reinforced our belief that the drone boat is, and remains, a viable solution”, explains Laurent TASSEL, Expert surveyor and head of Acti-Geo.
This loss has come at an inopportune time, as the current mission needs to be finalized, and the handover date is fast approaching. At this stage, the creation of a new USV or the use of the other remaining versions have been ruled out.
At the end of 2022, sales engineer Jean-Christophe Perdrieau asked CADDEN to supply the USV100, equipped with an Echologger single-beam bathymetric echosounder. Nathan Meriaux, CADDEN support technician, was on hand in Toulouse to deliver the USV and train the teams in its use.
Since then, the USV100 has been an integral part of bathymetric missions at a variety of sites:
Equipped for several months, the Acti-Geo team has been able to appreciate the many advantages of the USV100 during their missions. First and foremost, its transportability, which is very practical in intervention zones where there is no access. With its shallow draught, it can get into very complicated places that are difficult to access with a boat, for example. The power of its motors makes it easy to get up rivers in flood or out of complex situations.
The major advantage of the USV is its automatic piloting. This considerable time-saving feature is ideal for focusing on signal quality while the USV navigates on its own. In all cases, operators remain safely on land.
Another important point: the ecological footprint. The USV100 is electrically powered and therefore rather quiet, so it does not disturb wildlife during its missions.
“We see a lot of possibilities with this drone,” enthuses Laurent TASSEL.
“We’ve been working with CADDEN for several years now: the products they sell are top-quality, and their staff are always available and offer excellent advice. The hardware and software after-sales service is also top-notch (even if, from a hardware point of view, we’d like to have as little to do with them as possible – because that means there’s been some breakage!”, says Laurent TASSEL.
The USV100 is a real investment “but when you really care about people’s safety and want to make precise measurements, it’s a very good solution”, concludes Laurent TASSEL.
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