Morrison Utility Services (MUS) is trying out Augmented Visualisation of Underground Services (AVUS) technology on its Thames Water and Yorkshire Water contracts.
The technology belongs to Eurovia, a subsidiary of French construction giant Vinci.
MUS engineers are using AVUS to plan and manage works by mapping and viewing underground services in 2D or 3D augmented reality (AR) via smartphone and tablet screens, before the digging starts.
AVUS is designed to reduce survey costs and reduce the risk of underground service strikes. It also adds to the accuracy of underground service data that is maintained over time.
The technology identifies pipe location to within 5cm and captures geospatial information of services before reinstatement.
The AVUS trial will also enable teams to benefit from as-built video capture of geospatial information before reinstatement of an excavation. The resulting footage is used to create 3D point cloud models ensuring visual records and ‘x-ray vision’ of the completed work, utility layout and geology for future works.
The initial trial was conducted on a bypass and pressure relief valve (PRV) installation in Roehampton, south London in October 2020.
MUS information technology (IT) director Andy Carter said: “AR [augmented reality] is paving the way for many operational processes in our sector to become safer and simpler and the benefits presented by AVUS mean that this technology is a real industry game changer.
“Using emerging and innovating technologies such as AVUS ensures safer working practices and minimises the risk of service strikes by enabling our engineers and operatives to view buried networks virtually via smartphone devices. As well as this, the geo-positioning precision offered by the technology means that the essential infrastructure works that we undertake can be delivered more quickly and more efficiently to keep disruption to the public to a minimum.”
Eurovia UK innovation director Yogesh Patel added: “When we developed the AVUS technology, we always knew that it would make a big impact on the safety and success of planning and programming of works. We are excited to see the benefits of AR applied to the utilities sector – we all have a collective responsibility to manage our infrastructure safely and sustainably. AVUS is a step in the right direction towards this vision.”