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SeaCat AUV Inspects Water Supply Tunnel

By Jörg Kalwa
System Engineer
Atlas Elektronik
Bremen, Germany




The team recovers the SeaCat AUV from the mission.

In a mission lasting almost seven hours, the SeaCat AUV, made by Atlas Elektronik (Bremen, Germany), dove through a water supply tunnel 24 kilometers long in the vicinity of Stuttgart, Germany, successfully investigating the tube for damage.

With this survey in March 2012, it became possible to inspect the Albstollen water-supply tunnel in the state of Baden-Württemberg for the first time in 40 years of operation.


First Visual Inspection of the Tunnel
The Albstollen tunnel, with a length of 24 kilometers and a diameter of 2.25 meters, forms part of the water-supply system operated by Bodensee-Wasserversorgung (Stuttgart). As the largest German long-distance water distribution system, it provides freshwater from Lake Constance to 4 million people in 320 communities. One of two main lines, the Albstollen passes through the Swabian Jura mountain range to supply Stuttgart and the northern part of Baden-Württemberg.

Although the concrete duct had been checked regularly in the course of its more than 40-year lifetime through measurements of the hydraulic friction losses and the leakage rate, a visual inspection of its condition over the entire length had not been technically possible until now. To inspect the water tunnel, Atlas Elektronik deployed an autonomous diving robot. To continue this article please click here.


Jörg Kalwa has been working at Atlas Elektronik for the past decade on the definition and development of UUVs, presently focusing on product development for the SeaCat AUV. As systems engineer, his experience comprises hydrodynamics, navigation, communication, sensor integration and software for autonomous behavior.




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