VisionTech4Life Is a project based on the Internet of Things, sensors and drone technology for the real time detection and control of environmental impacts during the execution of civil engineering works.
Jose Pablo Ormaechea Epalza
Responsable de Innovación Tecnológica de FULCRUM y Coordinador de VisionTech4Life
Tasks associated with the monitoring of civil engineering works are now carried out in a very natural manner with new technologies. Smartphones afford great benefits that are availed of for everyday tasks; digital photos that can be sent instantly, and real-time data and voice communication. Technology is advancing at a rate that facilitates massive use, resulting in the changing, modernisation and enhancement of procedures, as slower, more manual and more costly practices are left behind. The case of mobile devices is a good example of how technology improves, simplifies and reduces the cost of everyday activities.
Despite increasingly stringent legislation, manual and subjective monitoring and control procedures are still often used in the environmental area of civil engineering works. Data related to the environment are also interpreted using laboratory testing, which, although very precise, requires several hours or even days to obtain results. Visits by environmental specialists, often with time intervals between them, sometimes serve to identify environmental impacts that have occurred in the past, affording little margin for intervention and action to control these impacts. In other cases, the impact may not be visible to human beings, resulting in irreparable damage to the environment.
Current environmental monitoring employs very little technology and might be said to be based on the implementation of corrective measures once the impact has occurred. It is not capable of acting against the activity that causes the impact, only on the consequences of it.
VisionTech4Life seeks to demonstrate the capacity of current technology to provide early identification of environmental impact and define a procedure, also technology-based, to intervene as rapidly as possible to tackle the causes of this impact. Therefore, the main benefit of this initiative in the environment sector is the obtaining of continuous, real-time information by means of sensors (not using subjective criteria) and the possibility of rapid action through the generation of warnings and alarms.
FULCRUM, the coordinator of the work, and its partners ERABI and DeustoTech, are responsible for carrying out the project, which is formally scheduled for conclusion in December of 2016. The European Union is also supporting the project through the LIFE+ funding instrument. VisionTech4Life is currently carrying out its first pilot study on the site of the ACUAES civil engineering works at the Villapérez WWTP in Oviedo. After the summer, the second pilot study will be carried out on the site of the road construction works associated with the Ermua Bypass, currently being executed by Interbiak.