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Videoray - News - August 25, 2005

South Florida Water Management District Triples VideoRay Fleet

Underwater Robots Proven Invaluable for Safe, Cost-Efficient Inspections of Culverts, Gates, and Pump Stations

VideoRay LLC (http://www.videoray.com) announced today the purchase and delivery to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD - http://www.sfwmd.gov/ ) of two additional VideoRay Remotely Operated Vehicles, bringing the fleet owned and operated by the SFWMD to a total of three. The two new vehicles join a unit that has been in operation for more than a year, and were purchased under VideoRay’s newly awarded General Services Administration (GSA) contract (http://www.videoray.com/GSA .)

The tiny VideoRays are used to enter confined spaces in the vital water management structures throughout the huge SFWMD territory. With a replacement value of over $12,000,000,000, these assets assure regional flood control, water supply and water quality protection, and ecosystem restoration. With extremely tight budgets, SFWMD is constantly innovating. The agency must use the most cost-effective methods available to inspect these structures, scheduling maintenance and repairs to maximize value and minimize downtime.

Human divers have conducted inspections for years. While this technique is often needed - particularly when repairs are required - it is inefficient in the majority of cases when inspection is the only requirement. In addition, human divers risk attack by the alligators that live near structures, and cannot enter some water pumping equipment enclosures safely. The process of diving often stirs up sediment, making already challenging visibility situations much worse.

In preparation for this purchase, SFWMD invited VideoRay to observe the kinds of inspections they have been doing with VideoRay, and to understand the challenges they had experienced that were unique to their inspections. Scott Bentley, President of VideoRay, and Marcus Kolb, Director of Research and Development, accompanied SFWMD specialists to six different locations to inspect different structures. VideoRay confirmed that recent improvements would serve SFWMD requirements well.

"The taxpayers of South Florida can be proud of the way the Water Management District spends - and saves - the money entrusted to them. I've been to many different governmental organizations in the US and abroad, and I can’t think of one that was either more technology savvy - and practical - than the people and processes I observed here" said Mr. Bentley.

SFWMD needs to discover, define, and document the inevitable deterioration of water control structures. SFWMD will save considerably over the cost of teams of divers - with trappers to watch for and shoot threatening alligators. In addition, a digital record will be produced from each inspection, which can be compared in future years so the rate of deterioration of each structure can be tracked.

During the vertical gate structure portion of the testing visit, the VideoRay encountered a 10 foot alligator in very close proximity. No person or equipment was hurt or damaged, but the potential for injury was very convincingly demonstrated.

The South Florida Water Management District operates and maintains approximately 1,800 miles of canals and levees, 25 major pumping stations and about 200 larger and 2,000 smaller water control structures. See http://www.sfwmd.gov/images/pdfs/whoweare.pdf for more background.

For more information:

Chris Gibson chris.gibson@videoray.com
VideoRay LLC Director, Marketing
Phone: 610.458.3000

 

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