Water meter reading goes high-tech with 3G equipped drones

The era of the door-to-door meter reader may soon come to an end, if an aerial monitoring system now being used in Israel catches on.

Arad Technologies has been making water meters since the 1940s, but their data collection now has an amazingly high-tech twist using UAVs that receive data from 3G wireless equipped water meters. This way, instead of getting a single static reading once every few weeks, the drone can monitor the flow rate to help pinpoint problems. An unusually slow but steady flow usually indicates a leak, while an unusually high rate could be a sign of water being stolen.

Arad CEO Dan Winter says that people in many places tend to take water for granted leading to abuse, and that his system can help to discover problems that might go unnoticed for weeks using standard meters.

The battery-operated hand-launched drone can cover a large area in far less time than manual meter readers, then once its battery runs low it returns to earth using a parachute. Winter sees possibilities for the drones beyond meter reading, including traffic signal monitoring, and downloading data from security cameras.

Fast Company, via Treehugger

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