NGI

Will develop drone-based ground investigations

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The Norwegian Geotechnical Institute's (NGI) technology spin-off EMerald Geomodelling will further develop a drone-based system for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and pilot this over the next three years.

NGI and EMerald Geomodelling will further develop a drone-based system for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and pilot this over the next three years
NGI and EMerald Geomodelling will further develop a drone-based system for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and pilot this over the next three years
Over 90 per cent of infrastructure projects worldwide experience cost overruns of 20-50 per cent. The reason for this is often a lack of knowledge of the ground conditions. Together with research institutions such as NGI and the University of Southern Denmark (SDU), EMerald Geomodelling and SkyTEM will now further develop the AEM solution to obtain less expensive and improved knowledge of the ground conditions.
Eurostar's funding program contributes to the research project, which is estimated at 1.6 million Euros.

Invent and improve

Today, EMerald Geomodelling's services are based on airborne geoscanning from helicopters. Geo-scanning collects data, and using machine learning algorithms, EMerald Geomodelling can produce 3D models that give project engineers a holistic basis for infrastructure design.
The goal is to further develop this technology to provide the same information when using drones. Coordinating work processes for AEM surveys with drone flying, machine learning-based integration and a more holistic approach to other ground surveys will greatly contribute to increasing the sustainability goals in the construction industry.
- Further development of innovations is important for NGI. In addition, we want to be a support and partner for EMerald Geomodelling. In this project, we will contribute to the workflow around the surveys and optimize the communication between executives and potential customers. As part of this, we will also work with delivery formats and standardization in accordance with industry standards within building information models (BIM), says Magnus Rømoen, BIM strategist at NGI.

Available for more

Today's solution depends on data collection by flying helicopter, which provides a relatively high entry cost. This means that the solution is not particularly suitable for smaller, geographical projects. Through drone-based technology, you will not only reduce the entry cost, you will and will be able to fly closer to the ground than what is allowed by helicopter. This in turn will result in increased accuracy for the data, in addition to increasing the resolution the first few meters into the ground.
The work processes with drones and customized machine learning algorithms will bridge this gap, with a solution that provides a faster and better product at a lower cost.
- Faster, better and cheaper is typically a wish that cannot be fulfilled. But with this solution, we do just that by replacing a half-ton system that requires a helicopter with something that weighs 10-12 kilos and can be carried by a drone, says Andreas A. Pfaffhuber, CEO of EMerald Geomodelling.
He emphasizes that EMerald Geomodelling's vision is to eliminate the risk of unknown ground conditions by creating models that make the upper part of the earth's crust transparent.
- Our goal is to make this a new standard in geotechnical ground surveys, in line with traditional methods such as soundings and penetrations tests (CPTUs) and drilling and sampling for subsequent laboratory testing of retrieved soil samples. The solution will not only be able to give a 3D result of an area, you will and can get this at a relatively reasonable cost.

In addition, this will make AEM surveys available for almost any project that requires knowledge of the ground conditions. The development will also contribute to increased sustainability in the construction industry, both in terms of lower costs and reduced carbon emissions, says Pfaffhuber.

Part of the Eurostar program

Eurostar is a joint program between EUREKA and the European Commission to support projects led by small and medium-sized research and development-based companies. The program is supported by the EU through Horizon 2020. EMerald Geomodelling's contribution was ranked number 15 out of a total of 384 applicants.

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NGI and EMerald Geomodelling will further develop a drone-based system for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and pilot this over the next three years
NGI and EMerald Geomodelling will further develop a drone-based system for airborne electromagnetic (AEM) surveys and pilot this over the next three years
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NGI – Norges Geotekniske Institutt – er et uavhengig, internasjonalt senter for forskning og rådgivning innen ingeniørrelaterte geofag, der vi integrerer kunnskap mellom geoteknikk, geologi og geofysikk. Vår forskning gir kunnskap som styrker norsk næringsliv til å løse noen av de viktigste utfordringene vi står overfor innenfor klima, miljø, energi og naturfarer.

Siden opprettelsen av NGI på starten av 1950-tallet har vi tiltrukket oss dedikerte fagfolk og eksperter på bruk av geomaterialer som byggegrunn og byggemateriale, skredproblematikk og forurensning av grunnen. Utvikling og anvendelse av ny teknologi står helt sentralt i vår virksomhet for å finne bærekraftige løsninger og sikre at vi bygger et samfunn på sikker grunn. Vår ekspertise og løsninger er kjent og etterspurt i store deler av verden.

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