Unitywater formed a new partnership with Pipe AI in order to incorporate artificial intelligence into its asset management operations.

The South East Queensland utility will tap into the Queensland tech company’s expertise in artificial intelligence and automation for pipe defect detection and failure prediction.

The partnership will facilitate the future development of Pipe AI – a software which uses machine learning to assess the condition of sewerage, water and stormwater pipes.

Unitywater CEO and Chair of the Asia Pacific Smart Water Alliance Network, George Theo, said innovative and smarter solutions for condition assessment of pipes will be invaluable.

“Automation is the way of the future and we believe Pipe AI is going to play a significant role in the future of asset management,” Mr Theo said.

“Our partnership with Pipe AI will see Unitywater leading in operational performance and digital customer solutions.”

CEO of Pipe AI, Brian Pilkington, said he was extremely pleased that Unitywater had decided to partner with Pipe AI to further accelerate its use by the utility industry. 

Mr Theo and Mr Pilkington agreed there is an opportunity in the marketplace to showcase smart applications that will improve asset maintenance processes while delivering essential water and sewerage services for the end user.

“Pipe AI will remove manual duplication of processes and reduce inspection costs by using technology to improve and speed up water management processes,” Mr Pilkington said.

“Utilities can save on maintenance and repair bills and offer an uninterrupted water supply to customers.

“Currently, accepted industry practice often sees up to four sets of eyes review a single CCTV video.

“Considering there are typically multiple pipes and associated CCTV footage to review, post construction and then as part of maintenance by the asset owner, the number of hours spent viewing that data can be significant.

“The innovative software is well suited to the new generation of workforce, who are data driven and familiar with automation.”

Like many utilities, Unitywater currently undertakes manual reviews of CCTV recordings from pipe inspections as part of its maintenance program.

Mr Theo said the initial trials of Pipe AI have been extensive, with the software accurately identifying and classifying faults from more than 3,000 videos.

“The success of the trials has given us confidence that Pipe AI can reliably and consistently identify faults and reduce possible outages and impacts to our 355,000 customers.”

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