The RATP Group (Autonomous Parisian Transportation Administration), is a French state-owned public transport operator and maintainer for the Greater Paris area. With thousands of civil works to inspect each year, the company has turned to mobile robotics to inspect hard-to-reach and hazardous areas in order to keep employees out of harms way. Named Perceval by the company, Spot is now fully part of the inspection process.

We transport daily 16 million people… It’s part of our DNA. We innovate each day to provide a better customer experience and to provide a better quality of life in cities.

Côme Berbain, Innovation Director, RATP Group

Why Spot?

The metro network in Paris is one of the oldest (built in 1900) and biggest of Europe with 308 stations and 220km of railway. The network includes underground galleries, tunnels, sub-docks, bridges and viaducts, all of them are filled with thousands of inspection points. 

To prevent failure on the network, the maintenance team needs to analyze the overall condition of each structure, including evolution over time of cracks and other damages in the structure or thermal anomalies detection on electric cables and catenaries. Sometimes, these tasks can lead to work accidents because of the complexity and hazardousness of the structures to be inspected. With Spot, operators were able to get data without being exposed to risk.

To face this challenge, RATP equipped Perceval with a 360° PTZ camera with infrared sensor to allow it to capture accurate thermal and visual data in dark and harsh environments. RATP also added radio equipment with antennas using mesh network technology to enable the data capture in a 450-meter tunnel, where the WiFi signal was severely deteriorated. These add-ons allowed Spot to be teleoperated to collect visual data of the structure. This way, employees could see the data captured by Spot from a safer location.

Throughout the project, RATP teamed up with Boston Dynamics partner Intuitive Robots to implement inspection missions, configure the payloads and provide their expertise on site.

An inspector for RATP sets up an Autowalk mission for Spot in the Paris Metro

At RATP Infrastructures, we have more than 35,000 civil works components to check and maintain in the Greater Paris area transport network, and each of them must be inspected every five years. But some of them are very hard to reach and can be even dangerous to inspect for the maintenance team. It became obvious to use Spot to help operators complete their mission.

William Niepceron, Business Manager, RATP Infrastructures

Looking Ahead

RATP sees a multitude of benefits emerging from using Spot. The company has identified between 75 and 100 civil works that will be inspected by Spot among the 35,000 works they manage, corresponding to 13km of confined tunnels with very poor ventilation. The company also plans to use Spot equipped with an autonomous laser scanning module to perform surveys in their underground infrastructures. Spot will be used to map out digital twins of hard-to-reach infrastructures where it is difficult to get accurate data.

About RATP

RATP Group is a major player in public transport in the Île-de-France region, where its long-standing network is among the world’s densest and most complex. In France and abroad, it operates urban and suburban multimodal networks in more than 780 cities through its subsidiaries RATP Dev and RATP Cap Île-de-France.

About Intuitive Robots

Based in France, Intuitive Robots is a European key-player in robotics. Specialized in software development and payload configuration, the company provides a wide range of services & expertises dedicated to Spot robot in different industries. More information: