USV Assist In Pollution Remediation of Yangtze River | OceanAlpha

Location:  A river section of Yangtze River

Date: March, 2019


TC40 Pipeline Detection USV+ Shark-S900U Side Scan Sonar + Positioning & Orientation Equipment

SL20 Autonomous Survey USV + RiverRay 600K ADCP

The mission is a pilot move of a special action launched by a government department to investigate and remedy illegal sewage outlets polluting the Yangtze River.

A TC40 USV carrying a side scan sonar was applied in detecting underwater sewage pipelines. Real-time acoustic image was presented on the base station monitor for immediate pipeline identification. It only took the surveyors 20 minutes to identify 4 suspected pipelines from the image while the positioning & orientation equipment provides exact coordinates for further inspection and law enforcement to clear all the illegal outlets.

A SL20 USV deploying an ADCP surveyed the primary tributary and secondary tributary in the estuary area to obtain current velocity and discharge data.

The national news station reports how USVs assist in pipeline detection


Pipeline detection results

Suspected pipeline locations

Suspected pipeline 1. Coordinate:29°39.323′  106°31.636′

Suspected pipeline 2. Coordinate:29°39.320′  106°31.639′

Suspected pipeline 3. Coordinate:29°39.317′  106°31.643′

Suspected pipeline 4. Coordinate:29°39.316′  106°31.647′


Survey result of ADCP from survey point 1


Survey result of ADCP from survey point 2


Manually tracking and revealing pollution sources is one of the most arduous part of pollution remediation which is often conducted with low efficiency, high cost and would post huge potential safety hazard to surveyors. The application of unmanned surface vessel technology can substitute human being in working in complex or severely polluted water environment and guarantee the high quality of survey data and success of mission with its great functional stability and matured technology.

The application of OceanAlpha’s pipeline detection USV has brought about technological revolutionary to the traditional operation of sewage outlet remediation, which particularly suits the need of city management in environmental monitoring and pollution investigation.