Updated Sep 05, 2019

Watchtower Robotics

Find Leaks, Save Water, Protect Infrastructure

wtrco.com

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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Problem

Twenty percent of the world's cleaned and pumped water is lost due to leaking pipes. Saving just half of the water lost is enough to support one billion additional people. When leaks grow they turn into pipe bursts causing millions of dollars in damage. In the US alone, 240 thousand water mains break every year and that break rate has increased 27% over the past 6 years.

Innovation Description

Watchtower is revolutionizing leak detection in the water industry. We developed a patented robot that combines soft robotics technologies with in pipe leak detection techniques. By inserting it into one fire hydrant and retrieving it from another downstream, our robot creates an interactive 3-D map of the pipe network and accurately locates tiny leaks, all in any pipe material. Our system integrates seamlessly with our clients’ existing arcGIS system, allowing municipal water companies to locate leaks, save water, and prevent millions of dollars of infrastructure damage. Watchtower Robotics was founded in June 2018 on a mission to save water by finding leaks and protecting infrastructure. Moving forward, we seek to be the industry standard in leak detection and make a global impact in water supply. In three years, our goal is to help a client city water company reduce non-revenue water by 50%+, save 40%+ on annual leak repair cost, reduce the number of pipe bursts by 70%, and improve their water service quality to their residents. In the next five years, we will establish ourselves in the global market. We anticipate deploying our solution in over 30 cities around the world, where we will save an estimated 37 billion gallons of water annually, enough to serve 1.3 million more people.

Competitive Advantage

Current technology fails in a few main ways. Acoustic technology fails to find leaks reliably enough or early enough to prevent massive damage to infrastructure and water loss. On average, water utilities have to dig 3 times to find one leak when using these technologies. Current in-pipe inspection tools are too expensive, forcing utilities to only monitor a small portion of their network. None of the current technology works reliably in plastic pipes, or in noisy environments (like city centers). The new methodology combines an in-pipe inspection perspective with soft robotics and AI to bring accurate and fast leak detection to the industry.