Costain has been hired by the government to develop ‘smart roads’ using digital twins, intelligent materials, data science, and robotic monitoring.
The construction-engineering company is working with Highways England and the University of Cambridge on the project, which was named as one of eight new Prosperity Partnerships (business-led projects that align with the government’s new Innovation Strategy).
The innovative project has been set up to help keep the UK moving by connecting the digital and physical to deliver safer, greener, and more efficient UK road networks.
The project has secured secured £19m in funding from UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £40m from industry and university partners.
Commenting on the project, Tim Embley, director of Innovation at Costain, said: “The result of our partnership will allow proactive, robotic interventions, and road maintenance schemes that are more sustainable through the smarter use of resources.
“Using a digital-twinning system which visualises the road and its condition, highways agencies and councils would be able to identify when roads need repairing and the use of self-sensing and self-healing materials will speed up the repairs.”
If successful, the work conducted by the partnership would also negate the need for laborious and costly on-site inspections, prevent unnecessary delays to motorists because of road works, and reduce the emissions generated by roadworks.
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