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  • Deichbau, Dammbau, Böschungssicherung, Straßenbau - topocare GmbH

    Research & Development



With the BMBF-funded research project TAMMOS, topocare and FHDW  are exploring new forms of mobile flood barrier construction. The results are already forward-looking in many areas.

Due to the professional exchange with the Fire Brigade Association Rhineland-Palatinate, which set up the project related Advisory Council for Flood Protection, knowledge and practical experience with the river Rhein and Mosel is available for the project.

The project is part of the research program Research for Civil Security of the Federal Government, where solutions for mitigation and crisis management are developed.

Associated project partners:

Autonomous flood protection

The aim of the project is the creation of systems and procedures for mobile flood protection in high-risk areas, which are under threat of flooding.Machines should be capable of  driving independently into the risk area and build up a protection wall with the help of sand-filled geotextile hoses, the topotubes.

In order to achieve this, we are developing a machine for semi-autonomous laying of geotextile tubes (topoRobo). Furthermore, small logistics units are developed, which bring the sand to the laying machine and feed it continuously (topoAnt).The general procedure for laying the flood protection tubes is as follows:

  • The topoRobo drives to the starting point of the installation
  • As like an ant colony, several topoants move back and forth between the sand and the depot to provide the topoRobo with sand

  • The topoRobo builds the topotubes with the sand from the topoAnts

In order to enable an autonomous process, which is supervised by the operations center (therefore: partially-autonomous), some preparation work beforehand is necessary, which are presented below.

Step 1)

3D-Mapping mittels Drohne

The deployment environment is little known as opposed to autonomous driving on roads. To gain precise environmental data, the area is first explored with a drone. Using photogrammetry, the terrain profile with its highs and lows can be captured, resulting in a 3D map of the area of application.

Photogrammetry is remote sensing in which photographs can be used to depict a three-dimensional shape of the landscape. For this purpose, the drone flies in a grid formation over the reconnaissance area, where photographs are taken at regular intervals.

Due to the overlapping of the photo recordings and shifted viewing angles of the individual photo positions, a three-dimensional map can be calculated.

Step 2)

Deployment strategy / fleet management

To determine the deployment strategy, the security processes are modeled.

This is where the joint expertise of the FHDW and topocare for the simulation of flood protection logistics is presented (see also here). Using agent-based simulation, individual scenarios are simulated to determine the time, capacity and quantity framework for use.


Examples of questions that will be answered with the help of the mission simulation

  • How many vehicles do I need for the ideal process?
  • When are the start times and dates for the vehicles?
  • How long does the overall process take?
  • What needs to be done to be ready before the flood arrives?

Step 3)

Driving simulation and control

Based on the results from the previous steps, work descriptions (task descriptions) are created for the individual machines (topoRobo and topoAnts). The job descriptions include the 3D environment, the target path of the topotubes, the positions of the sand camps, mobile areas in the area and individual sub-steps of the overall activity. The interaction of the individual task descriptions of the topoPackers and topoAnts is tested in a simulation environment and / or transferred directly to the machines.

After transmission of the task descriptions, the machines carry out their respective work packages partially-autonomously. They independently determine a route based on the drivable areas, avoid new obstacles or independently transfer the sand from the topoAnt to the topoRobo. For this they are equipped with sensors for environment detection.

Step 4)

Protecting structure by means of autonomous machines

The developed control is a part of the laying machine, the topoRobo. The topoRobo was developed as the first goal of the project. Various existing ideas and patents have been integrated into the project for this purpose and further developed, together with new findings of the geotextile tube laying machine, which meets the requirements of autonomous process. We wish to demonstrate in the upcoming video. The current interim result of the project, the tube laying with the mobile and autonomously-traveling topoRobo.

Already the research project gives an exciting insight into the flood protection of the future!

Do you want  to know more or have ideas and suggestions?


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