The use of technology is present in the different phases of an infrastructure: design, materials, processes and construction. According to the needs of each one of these phases, the most advanced existing techniques are being used and innovating to achieve works that adapt to the new needs. As the United Nations has pointed out, The countries' goal should be to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. "This challenge is based on the fact that sustainable investment in infrastructure and innovation are fundamental engines of growth and economic development of a country, with more than half of the world population living in cities, the use of mass transportation and renewable energy, as well as the growth of new industries and the dizzying advance of information and communication technologies ", indicates Ricardo Cortés, director of the Technical Area of Seopan.
In this challenge, the Spanish infrastructure companies have an advantage since «they have a high technical capacity and control of innovative management systems to guarantee the quality of the projects, which has helped them consolidate their presence in foreign markets and their leadership », Both in the development and execution of construction contracts for civil, industrial and building works, as well as in the management of infrastructure under concession and those related to water technology.
Laura Tordera, member of the Board of the College of Civil Engineers, Channels and Ports, highlights the new technologies that are being implemented in the sector, such as BIM (Building Information Modeling) «that allows us to model the works we do in a digital model and in this way make the digital twins (digital twins) ». Thus, it is possible to have an infrastructure fully modeled before starting to build it "and it allows you to foresee all the incompatibilities that you may have in facilities, in existing services, you anticipate all problems," he highlights. In this way it will be possible to carry out projects in shorter times, higher productivity and that the entire chain works better. «It is one of the most innovative things that is carried out practically in the entire sector by the hand of the public administration. It is very important that it supports us for the implementation of these technologies in the works ”, explains the engineer.
Artificial intelligence is also used for the revisions of the works, using previously made models. “In this way, it is also possible to anticipate possible difficulties and makes the explanation of the interventions easier. If you can see how the infrastructure will look with smart glasses or tablets, You can explain it better to the citizens so that they understand the role they have, "says Laura Tordera. Drones or robotics are equally useful because "it allows us to know how the geography of areas is that without drones we cannot access them, such as forests, jungles, or areas of difficult access." Something that helps when studying the contracts.
From the College of Civil Engineers, Channels and Ports they also point out the role played by materials such as new types of concrete and asphalt mixess. They are concrete that set faster and asphalt that withstands cold and heat much better which "can allow us to do the works with better yields." And Laura Tordera also points out that in developed countries infrastructure maintenance is carried out above all more than the construction of new works and that is why it is important that the materials and designs used “are resilient, that they withstand these inclement weather conditions. , the increase of floods, of precipitations. The infrastructures that we design now must be prepared for all this ”, he points out.
Big data and data analysis help predict how an infrastructure will work in 50 or 100 years. "For example, the Genoa Bridge was designed to have a 50-year lifespan and fell to 51. Now there are many infrastructures built after the wars whose lifespan is currently expiring," he recalls. New technologies allow for a more detailed inspection of the state thanks to drones and sensors that can prevent a catastrophe from happening.