Smart digitized roads that ensure driver safety

To ensure more efficient, more sustainable, safer roads that generate value for clients and users in the short and long term... That is the goal Sacyr aims to achieve through our ongoing projects focused on the creation of increasingly smarter roads. 

Sacyr has at least eight projects in this area (smart tolls, Enviro&Maps, Libera Cunetas, Iohnic, RARx, and others), though here we will focus on three.

When receiving a road concession, it is essential to factor in the evolution of the road surface when calculating costs. Our Sacyr Prediction Tool can perform dozens of calculations simultaneously, delivering very precise projections of the surface’s long-term behavior and possible deterioration, based on data compiled from road use, construction, and environmental conditions, such as weather. 

There are commercial tools that make it possible to model the evolution of potential road surface deterioration to estimate the concession’s upkeep and rehabilitation costs. “Though these tools can be used at the project level, they lack the flexibility to adapt to specific conditions, like the unique characteristics and variables of road concessions or integration/analysis of historical data compiled during project management,” explains Rubén Jover, head of R+D+i at Sacyr Concessions. 



Sacyr currently has a signed agreement with Tyris (winner of the 8th Sacyr Awards for Innovation), through which we will be able to develop our own system with machine-learning algorithms.  

The prediction models are developed using historical data and the specific variables of the road concessions themselves, with the ultimate goal of optimizing concession interventions.  


Techniques to detect actual status of road

For its part, Sacyr Inroad enables dynamic analysis, using the most advanced image recognition techniques and checking the actual status of road surfaces and signals in order to detect incidents not visible to the naked eye and take the appropriate corrective measures. 

The initiative involves the application of different sensors on a maintenance vehicle, allowing the system to capture information from the surroundings and create models that predict any deviation in the infrastructure status indicators.  



The Turia and Arlanzón highways participated in this initial pilot project, which will provide a huge volume of historical data on traffic, weather, road surfaces, signaling and roadside safety barriers, among others.  

Both projects, in which Sacyr has collaborated with startups like Tyris AI and the Technological Institute of Castilla y León (ITCL), focus on ensuring enhanced safety throughout the lifecycle of the road network. The aim is that the operations and maintenance developed and applied are much more limited, with a high degree of detail and efficiency to correct each incident of deterioration. 

The implementation of these projects further reinforces our commitment to work in collaboration toward a common goal, capitalizing on the expertise, talent, and potential of every professional within the Sacyr Group, in addition to the most innovative external talent. 

The businesses and the corporate innovation team work hand-in-hand from the outset, from the identification of challenges by the open innovation team, to the project launch, where the Strategy and Innovation Department’s project management team ensures compliance with deadlines, coordinates actions, connects the business with innovators, implements new methodologies that help streamline the process and, ultimately guarantees the success of the project. 


Virtual reality 

In addition to projects that use IoT, big data, and machine learning (Sacyr Inroad and Sacyr Prediction Tool), the company carries out other virtual reality-based initiatives, for example, the SimulaDRON project, which will use a virtual reality simulator to inspect infrastructures by piloting drones.  

The aim is to train drone pilots virtually to handle these devices in the real world, mainly to fix infrastructure issues. To that end, two Sacyr structures were recreated: the Talavera de la Reina cable-stayed bridge and the Foz Tua dam. The recreations include potential faults that may appear over the useful life of the structure.

Drone pilots in training must be able to detect these weaknesses in order to acquire the experience necessary to conduct full inspections simulating real life. The model allows users to interactively view and navigate using virtual reality headsets and the drone’s transmitter.

  • Roads
  • Drones
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Smart
  • Machine learning
  • Virtual Reality

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