Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

AUAS students work on water sampling drone for Waternet

19 Dec 2014 00:00 | Communication

Eight Engineering, Design & Innovation students are working on a multi-purpose drone for Waternet, which can be used to take water samples and to inspect dykes.

ED&I students Mark Hage, Daniël Geerling, Sil van Gils and Alex Roest wait patiently beside the 3D-printer containing a holder. Student Alex: “We are making this component to fit under the drone, where it can be used to easily click on various modules. It’s a bit like a vacuum cleaner, on which you can place different attachments.” The drone itself has already been developed for Waternet and the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Board by the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands. The students’ holder will enable inspectors to exchange the camera for a suction device for taking water samples by simply clicking it in place.

Inspecting dykes
The addition being developed by the students is a step forwards, because inspectors currently still have to spend over an hour disconnecting all kinds of wires and screws when they want to exchange the camera for a different attachment. The new system will enable the drone to be deployed easily in virtually all of the areas managed by the Water Boards. Waternet already has plans to use the drone to inspect the Netherlands approximately 1000 kilometres of dykes for faults. In addition, the drone can be used to check whether the dykes are still high enough.

Water samples

Another group of ED&I students focused on programming the lower section of the drone. Max Jaspers, Max Verstappen and Dave and Thijs Jansen reprogrammed the remote control switch in such a way that the inspector can now take a water sample by simply pressing a button. This gives the tubes under the drone the command to suction up water.


The students’ project is still in the testing phase. The prototype should be completed in two weeks, after which Waternet will test the drone and start working with it. So perhaps we will see drones with the AUAS students’ contributions hovering over the Delta Works or the canals of Amsterdam next summer.