AI-based platform to monitor Italian highways infrastructure


Italian road operator Autostrade per l’Italia (ASPI) is launching a new real-time infrastructure monitoring and management system using IBM’s artificial intelligence-based (AI) Maximo software platform.

Based on IBM’s Maximo software, the new digital platform will integrate inspection, structural monitoring and maintenance activities to allow for the continuous oversight of ASPI’s critical infrastructure, both in real-time and throughout its lifecycle. Mobile devices connected to the system will provide technicians who perform inspections with insights about the infrastructure they are managing, combined with access to project documentation that can help operators determine if and when maintenance should be performed. Automated workflow processes can be set up to track whether required activities have been successfully completed and required approvals have been given, allowing operators to manage the infrastructure and associated information in a shared and transparent way.

The system combines 3D models of the monitored infrastructure with images taken in the field by technicians processed by AI, to classify which sections may require maintenance and suggest additional checks and physical inspections for the operator to evaluate. The monitoring platform will communicate in real-time with sensors installed on infrastructure, the number of which will grow progressively. The Internet of Things (IoT) technology will create a centralised digital database containing all the regularly updated information on approximately 4,300 structures, such as bridges, viaducts, flyovers and tunnels, that form ASPI’s highway network.

The new system will be launched in Italy on a trial basis before the end of the year and will initially be tested on three viaducts: the Bisagno, on the A12 motorway in Liguria, the Romano and the Corvi, both on the A16 motorway in Puglia. The goal is for the technology to be implemented on all ASPI’s 1,943 major network structures by the end of 2020. The second phase of the project, set to begin in mid-2020, is designed to support infrastructure maintenance activities, from design to operations, and from testing to execution, to flow through a single dashboard, giving operators a fully integrated view of activities. The new ASPI system has been designed to immediately communicate with the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport’s Ainop database, which monitors the safety status of all the country’s infrastructure.

“Our intention is to create one of the most advanced infrastructure monitoring and maintenance systems in Europe, in line with the smart road principle defined by the Ministry of Transport,” said ASPI’s managing director, Roberto Tomasi. “With the most advanced technologies, we aim to make efficiency and transparency the cornerstones to our mission of enhancing the security of critical infrastructure.”

Enrico Cereda, CEO of IBM Italy, said, “We all know how important bridges, tunnels and roads are for the daily life of every citizen. Many of these structures have been built at different times and with different materials. That’s why we have decided to invest and leverage our advanced AI and IoT technologies to help Autostrade per l’Italia improve the way these structures are monitored and managed. Their industry expertise combined with our experience and investment in technology and research can be used to help improve maintenance processes and infrastructure management activities, assisting with the control of critical infrastructure.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.