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La revue soGaz #5

Augmented reality, virtual reality: innovation to help drive performance

GRTgaz believes that innovation is key to the continuous improvement of the performance and safety of its infrastructure.

To serve our customers better and to protect our employees and those people who live close to our infrastructure, we are testing new virtual-reality and augmented-reality solutions on our network.

Augmented reality: a new remote diagnostic and welding tool

What are the benefits of augmented reality for GRTgaz? It will improve the quality of our diagnoses during preventive maintenance operations and even provide project management support on worksites.

What is augmented reality?

It is a process in which images or objects are immediately inserted into and overlaid on a real image in a realistic manner and in a specific situation.

  • Remote diagnosis through connected eyewear
    Equipped with a mask or eyewear fitted with an on-board camera, employees send images of their work in real time to an expert who can provide advice from a distance. Remote diagnosis, which has been tested since the end of 2015, has significantly facilitated several maintenance operations. Its effectiveness has made it very popular among all of our employees.
  • From a virtual world to reality... a question of welding
    Ensuring the safety of operations and infrastructure has always been a priority for GRTgaz. This priority primarily depends on making sure that the welding of our network's pipelines is reliable. Alongside university and industrial partners, we are developing a welding helmet that directly superimposes welding information on the visor: temperature, speed, etc. Thanks to augmented reality, it is now possible to check the quality of the weld in real time, without having to wait for the outcome of the ex-post inspection. While waiting for the helmet to be made available, our teams are currently using a remote display solution. Information is read and checked by a remote foreman who analyses the measurements and gives instructions directly to the welder.

Virtual reality and training: GRTgaz makes the right choice

Since 2016, GRTgaz has trained its employees with the latest virtual reality technology! How? Thanks to the "ITX VR" application, an immersive and interactive solution that reproduces every inch of one of our industrial gas delivery facilities.

Video presentation of the 'ITX VR' helmet

Launched in 2015 with the collaboration of Virtual Resident and developed in partnership with MiddleVR, this innovative project recently entered its operational phase. Like in a video game, a technician who wears a HTC Vive immersive helmet can manipulate the various levers, valves and other control systems and thereby familiarise himself with the correct hand movements and responses. Ongoing training allows our employees to master the most unexpected situations and, ultimately, considerably reduce operational risks.

The result: the 'ITX VR' is very popular with our employees, which bodes well for the development of this training tool and a wider use of virtual reality technology within GRTgaz. 

View of the ITX AR application from a helmet and GRTgaz employees working on a standard pressure-reducing delivery station

Joël Rennié, Val de Seine Operations Section Manager - credit: Philippe Arnoux

"Before virtual reality, it was impossible to demonstrate certain breakdowns or, even, an accident scenario to our operators. Now, operations, including the most unusual, can be simulated without taking any risks"
Joël Rennié, Val de Seine Operations Section Manager