You are here : Home > Triggering controlled avalanches from a safe distance


Triggering controlled avalanches from a safe distance

CEA-Leti to exhibit at Moutain Planet 2022 a wireless networked detonator originally developed for the mining industry, to allow ski patrol members to trigger controlled avalanches from a safe distance.

Published on 26 April 2022

A new wireless technology that is more robust and reliable than conventional wired solutions could make the remote triggering of controlled avalanches safer. CEA-Leti’s wireless networked detonation system, developed through a joint R&D lab with mining-industry blasting specialist Davey-Bickford, was presented at the recent Mountain Planet trade show. The system could be used to trigger controlled avalanches at ski resorts.

Here’s how it works. Electronic detonators equipped with bidirectional radio modules are wirelessly networked with a digital blasting control system located a few kilometers away from the avalanche zone. A wireless communication protocol developed and optimized to ensure safe, reliable, and synchronized operation of hundreds—or even thousands—of blasting elements (up to 3,000 positioned around 1 meter to 1.5 meters apart) controls the system. The detonators can be synchronized extremely accurately, so that the blasts can be triggered simultaneously or at programmed intervals down to around a tenth of a second. The system leverages two-way communication to check the status of each detonator before a blast is triggered.

To develop this private, purpose-build IoT system, CEA-Leti did development work on the electronics that trigger the blasts and came up with a proprietary communication protocol specifically for this project. Special attention was given to the way the triggering instructions are coded to make sure that they are reliable and robust.

Top page