Keys to the role of Artificial Intelligence in road management and maintenance

Artificial Intelligence is surprising day by day by the degree of functions and the increasingly advanced solutions that are being developed in recent years. Its applications cover many sectors and are based on models such as machine learning and deep learning. Andwhat role does Artificial Intelligence play in road management and maintenance?

The answer is: very important to ensure that the use of technology results in safer road infrastructures. Drivers thus benefit from the most advanced technologies made available for traffic safety and accident prevention.

The role of Artificial Intelligence in the management and maintenance of roads and other infrastructures should be clear: to achieve the best possible condition as a tool for accident prevention. This is achieved with the most sophisticated techniques from the beginning to the end of the process: from the modeling and construction of roads, highways and freeways, to the tasks of control and improvement over the years.

In addition to not forgetting the technologies of the roads of the future, also oriented to traffic management and connectivity for the transmission of data in real time. Because AI has many edges and possibilities to improve the lives of people and drivers of private vehicles or transport fleets. Openvia, through its Neoroads initiative, is investing in the corridors of the future.

3 roles of AI in road management and maintenance

If we focus on the role of Artificial Intelligence in the management and maintenance of roads, the applications are based, above all, on their correct condition and prevention. To achieve this, AI tools are designed to perform data-driven analysis and predictions.

In this sense, in Openvia we want to talk about three of these functions and analyze what they consist of, within the objective of having the safest possible road network and road infrastructures thanks to the latest technology. With the challenge of keeping up to date with the constant evolution of existing technological applications and those yet to come.

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1.- Monitoring of road conditions

One practical use is to monitor road conditions by analyzing data collected from sensors installed in the infrastructure. These sensors – cameras, traffic, humidity or temperature meters – allow managers and operators to assess the condition of roads in real time.

The collection, processing and analysis of large amounts of data(big data analytics) is achieved through the transmission of information with 4G and 5G connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT). This accurate information is broadcast from sensors installed in pavement, vehicles, weather stations, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure to data processing and analysis centers.

The use of the Cloud facilitates the storage of information and the monitoring of road conditions. Artificial Intelligence helps, to give meaning to these huge amounts of data collected either autonomously or through the work of profiles such as data analyst in collaboration with engineers.

2- Preventive maintenance of roads

The monitoring discussed in the previous point is a necessary process for preventive road maintenance. With the aim of preventing potential problems before they happen, Artificial Intelligence helps to reduce long-term maintenance costs and improve road safety.

The reason is that it is not enough to obtain accurate data from the above-mentioned sensors and simply store them. Monitoring means analyzing and presenting information in real time, with a complete and prolonged study over the years in order to make extrapolations and simulations. This is the only way to detect problems and anomalies before they occur in tasks such as:

  • Crack and pothole sealing
  • Repair of signage
  • Cleaning and clearing of the road
  • Maintenance of drainage systems
  • Inspection and preventive maintenance of bridges and structures

The use of Artificial Intelligence in road monitoring, therefore, is of great importance to detect breakdowns before they cause irreparable and dangerous damage; improve road safety and prevent traffic accidents; reduce infrastructure maintenance costs because it is always more expensive to act once failures occur; improve traffic efficiency and fluidity; and extend the useful life of roads.

In this regard, and as part of the strategy we have in the field ofSmart Roads, we have developed the Geomic by Openvia solution, which provides operators with a web platform with all the tools for the efficient management of all O&M (Operation and Maintenance) tasks. With the use of this solution, there is an interconnected system of modules for the administration of all the activities of operators and road personnel.

3.- Use of BIM in the predictive maintenance of viaducts.

The third point on the role of Artificial Intelligence in the management and maintenance of roads has to do with the use ofBuilding Information ModelingBIM ). This type of collaborative work consists of the creation and management of construction projects such as roads, highways and freeways.

Applied to viaducts and other road infrastructure, this technology for creating detailed digital models uses AI in construction simulations, which facilitate planning the maintenance and management of viaducts and achieve better quality and longer service life.

AI and 3D modeling as part of BIM allows for early identification of potential problems before construction starts, i.e., the construction of a new infrastructure. The consequence is economic savings because costs will be lower, infrastructure efficiency will be higher and also safer for all users.

The future of infrastructures and Artificial Intelligence

In this article we have summarized an important reality we have today: the challenge of building, managing and maintaining infrastructure – from roads to other types of transport – to provide a safe service to drivers and cyclists on the roads.

We are therefore talking about the application of the most advanced technology to the well-being of society as a whole and to the optimal use of roads. Road safety is always a concern for all Public Administrations and operators, in the continuous search for technological applications that minimize accidents and deaths on the roads.

At Openvia we are convinced, and that is why we have prevention solutions such as Geomic by Openvia, that Artificial Intelligence in road management and maintenance is essential. Technology within everyone’s reach and its democratic nature is essential to move towards a more sustainable, inclusive and safe society.