Hades.ai – using artificial intelligence to improve urban drainage systems

Medium close-up of the three founders of NÜWIEL, which offers smart cargo trailers for bicycles, enabling environmentally friendly last-mile delivery.

The Zurich-based startup Hades supports cities in maintaining and managing their urban drainage systems, making them more sustainable and resilient.

Urban drainage systems - critical infrastructure

Urban drainage systems are a major foundation of public health and environmental protection as they transport wastewater from households to treatment plants and drain rainwater. Almost under every road lie urban drainage pipelines - in Europe, the total length of public sewer accumulates to about 2,500,000 km. Currently, urban drainage systems are challenged by their aging infrastructure, the trend of urbanization and the increase of extreme weather patterns such as heavy rainfalls. Hades tackles these challenges by exploiting deep learning techniques, cloud computing and big data analytics. This eventually results in cost-savings, less groundwater pollution through leaking wastewater pipes and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Who are Hades’ founders?

The co-founders, Dominik Boller and Christian Koch, researched at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Dominik applied computer vision to automatically locate surface objects in urban drainage systems, while Christian worked on technology transfer from research to practice. Anton Middelhaufe, who studied computer science at ETH Zurich, joined Hades as software engineer. The entire team strives to bring digital innovations into urban drainage systems in order to increase the sustainability and resilience of cities. The team is excited to work together with Munich Re and ERGO in the Side Call, aiming to further develop their market insights, technology and climate impact, to finally make cities more sustainable and resilient.