Traditionally, water meters have been read manually by employees who physically visit each meter and record the readings.
However, this method is time-consuming and can be inefficient, especially in areas with difficult terrain or hard-to-reach locations.
Remote Drone Reading of Water Meters
To address this challenge, we investigated the use of drones to remotely read water meters.
Our goal was to test whether drones could simplify and speed up the meter reading process, especially in areas where manual readings are difficult or impossible to perform.
To conduct our research, we collaborated with Liburnijske vode, a water utility company in Croatia.
We designed and 3D printed a mountable accessory that could be attached to a water meter reading device and used on a drone.
Our design was optimized to minimize the additional weight and size of the device, ensuring that it would not interfere with the drone’s flight capabilities.
Once the accessory was attached to the reading device, we conducted several drone flights over a micro-location of roughly 300 meters in the Permani-Ružići neighborhood.
During these flights, we tested multiple drone flight altitudes to determine the most efficient flight plan and minimize flight time.
We also assessed the impact of external factors, such as airspace restrictions and weather conditions, on the drone’s performance.
Our research showed that using drones for water meter reading is a faster and simpler way of collecting data.
With the use of drones, the reading process can be completed in a fraction of the time it takes to perform manual readings.
However, we also found that certain external factors can limit the effectiveness of drone-based water meter reading.
For example, airspace restrictions can limit the drone’s altitude and flight path, while poor weather conditions can interfere with the drone’s sensors and navigation.
These limitations highlight the need for careful planning and coordination between water utility companies and drone operators to ensure safe and efficient operations.
By using drones to remotely collect data, water utility companies can increase efficiency, save time and resources, and improve their overall operations.
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