By Ricardo Lobo, Global Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Aleatica
The year 2020 will be remembered as the starting point of an extensive and complex global pandemic. It has been a difficult time for everyone that has tested the resilience of organizations and people, as well as our creativity and ability to adapt to a new reality.
For a sector as important as mobility, it is necessary to provide solutions that meet the needs of a world in constant motion. That is why, as the leader of the research and development area of a transport infrastructure operator, it is essential to ensure that we identify opportunities that contribute to sustainability mobility in each country where we operate.
Sustainability requires a comprehensive approach that considers economic development and the existing environmental and social issues, working to meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations.
In our sector, fostering innovation plays a key role in achieving greater sustainability and this is the foundation of our Innova program: an initiative that invites Aleatica workers from around the world to submit projects at different levels of maturity to improve the quality of life of our users and work teams, and to contribute positively to our environment.
One of the winning projects that stands out this year is an initiative proposed in Italy by workers of the A35 Brebemi highway that will make it possible for electric vehicles to charge their batteries while driving on one of our highways in the Lombardia region in northern Italy. This pilot program, the only one of its kind–a combined effort of the public and private sectors and academia–consists of the construction of a highway section with a recharge system that will be able to provide power to electric vehicles equipped with an inductive charger without them having to stop to connect to a charging station.
Although the first electric vehicles were out on roads at the end of the 19th century–long before cars with internal combustion engines–the issue of not having battery autonomy quickly became apparent. More than a century later, despite the recent technological innovations that have improved battery efficiency, this problem has still not been resolved.
The technology that is being tested, known as Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT), seeks specifically to address this issue by reducing the need to have batteries in the vehicles. The implications of this project are extremely important from an environmental perspective, since they will make it possible to reduce the carbon footprint of our highways and contribute to mitigating climate change.
Another of the winning projects that was implemented in Spain is an Infrared Sonar Highway Safety System that consists of a device that identifies temporary traffic interruptions and defines a safety barrier to avoid having personnel being exposed to collisions on the highway. In this way, we use innovation to reinforce our commitment to the safety of our workers and our users.
The Innova program also recognized a white noise retro alarm system–a broadband sound that disappears quickly–implemented at the terminal in Tenerife, Spain. This system helps maintain the safety conditions at the ports where our workers operate, while also avoiding noise disturbances for the surrounding communities.
In the Mexican market, the star innovation project of this year is a QR code system for invoicing at Circuito Exterior Mexiquense, one of the most travelled highways in the country. This technology has represented a true before and after when it comes to user satisfaction and the efficiency of our internal processes. In only 8 months, over 20,000 invoices have been processed thanks to this innovation.
These are some examples that demonstrate the importance of innovation for Aleatica, allowing us to fulfill our mission of offering smart, safe and sustainable mobility in harmony with our communities.