Viewpoint: Technology to drive the infrastructure of the future
The infrastructure of the future must be cost effective and investments based on long-term planning and on contextualised and holistic decisions. It should also embrace the technological future.
The Danish Government recently established a Disruption Council tasked with presenting proposals for how Denmark should best exploit the opportunities brought about by technological development.
At Sund & Bælt we are already engaged in utilising the potential offered by technology. Our infrastructure has been built to last for more than 100 years. While ensuring that the travelling public benefits from a well-functioning infrastructure that is always accessible, we must do so as cost-effectively as possible.
Consequently, we are always looking to see what new technologies can be used to run our links efficiently and at the right standard of quality. We are already benefitting from some technologies and testing out new solutions with our partners. Drones are one of the solutions we are currently employing to facilitate inspections at the Storebælt Bridge.
The technology enables us to gather data, put it into a larger context and draw up the most effective plan for maintaining the concrete at the largescale structure.
We invest a significant amount of money in operations, maintenance and reinvestment at the Storebælt Bridge. We are strongly focused on reducing our costs because just a few percent over the lifetime of the bridge means that we can save many millions of kroner.
By combining a more accurate database for our infrastructure with systematic maintenance, we can see that the overall need for reinvestment over 50 years has reduced significantly when we compare this with the assessments we made 10 years ago. In future, the application of new technology will further reduce the need for investment and enhance operations.
In order to futureproof our infrastructure for the benefit of our owners and the Danish population, we are constantly on the lookout for new technology partnerships that can make our operations even more cost effective. One example is the collaboration with the innovation network, Roboclusters, which, over the next three years, will test the accuracy of their equipment in inspection robots, which can be used to investigate the state of major infrastructures.
Through our collaboration with external knowledge and technology companies, our ambition is to deliver unique solutions that can increase efficiency within the infrastructure area – not only for ourselves but for the industry in general.
This will release funds that can be used to enhance local and national infrastructure for the benefit of road users and for the whole of Danish society.