At the end of an underground gallery of the future Saint-Maur-Créteil station of the Grand Paris Express, a dog camped on his legs observes. To his approach and to the light that accompanies it. Something intrigues. If it is a dog, it is above all a robot, Perceval, that the RATP is releasing. The management will present it from Tuesday to Saturday at the Viva Technology show in Paris, at the Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles.
Perceval is imagined as a third eye for maintenance workers. “The robot dog can go to the place of the human at the end of the sub-quay to check the structural state and the points of disorder, that is to say the malfunctions of the site”, explains Côme Berbain, director of innovation for the RATP group. This four-legged robot is also a solution so that “our agents do not damage their backs, do not hit their heads in the galleries, do not damage themselves at all! »
360 degree cameras, internal and scanner
Every five years, the RATP inspects 34,000 works, 300 to 400 sites can put the agents to the test in terms of health and accessibility. The sub-quay is a perfect example of a low-ceilinged structure where you have to walk 75 meters in the metro and more than 200 meters in the RER.
In addition to its four legs, Perceval is equipped with a 360 degree camera to photograph and establish files of the problems identified. It also has an internal camera to remotely control it. Equipped with antennas that improve the range of its signal, the dog-robot is very reliable, according to the director of innovation. A scanner can be fixed on its head to X-ray the galleries and visualize them in three dimensions. An overview that facilitates preparations for inspections. Cracking, concrete splinters, aging of structures, temperature reading to prevent a fire, Perceval allows agents to observe while remaining safe.
“We must have tools to ease the difficult tasks”
Bought last November from the Nantes start-up Intuitive Robots, Perceval was developed by the American company Boston Dynamics, which specializes in robotics for mining and military use. Solid and all-terrain, the robot will arrive at the end of its test phase at the end of June and can then be industrialized.
Hélène Bahezre, pilot of the RATP innovation program, justifies the investment of nearly 75,000 euros on Perceval by reducing the arduousness. “Unfortunately, there are too many accidents at work, the group also wants to feminize maintenance. We must have tools to relieve difficult tasks, we also want to deal with longer careers. Finally, if this allows us to inspect sites where we cannot go, the question of price no longer arises because the security of our sites is a priority. »
At the Viva Technology show, the RATP will welcome around twenty start-ups on its stand and, in addition to Perceval, will present other innovations such as the bionic glove or the exoskeleton, always for less hardship at work.