A self-driving rover, with sensors capable of detecting temperature, humidity, oxygen concentration and air quality. Sara employed at Csc, a subsidiary of the Webuild Group, in the Tav yard in Chiomonte. The project was developed with the Competence Center Cim 4.0 in Turin to explore the deepest part of the Maddalena tunnel, just over seven kilometers long, reducing human inspections and using technology to increase safety standards in a very complex environment. .
He, the rover, is called Axel after the young grandson of the scholar of “At the Center of the Earth” by Julius Verne. It is a unique prototype in the world for automatic safety inspections, it was created in just 4 months by the Competence Center led by the CEO Enrico Pisino in collaboration with Merlo, Thales Alenia Space, Reply and Iren. requires Webuild, is equipped with lead batteries and two axial motorcycles that make it capable of overcoming obstacles up to 20 centimeters in height.
It is controlled and driven remotely thanks to a control panel installed in the middle of the Maddalena tunnel and thanks to a joystick capable of varying the direction of the vehicle which is able to move bidirectionally. It is equipped with cameras, lights and sensors and a radar capable of defining its position and has been designed to tackle slopes up to 60% and is able to operate in environments rich in water. It moves at 2.5 km / h in an environment where the temperature reaches 40 degrees, humidity reaches 90% concentration, in the heart of the mountain.
Rover Axel is able to collect data and monitor the surrounding environment by sending the information to the control unit inside the tunnel, which is in turn connected to the outside. “We have identified this technological solution – explains Gianluca Grondona, Chief Hr, Organization and System Officer of Webuild – thanks to an approach linked to Open Innovation, we work in many environments similar to the Maddalena tunnel, so the idea is to use these systems also in other construction sites, to improve safety performance more and more ». In this historical phase, Grondona underlines, there is a strong push to adopt innovative technologies in a sector that has remained very traditional until today.
“We want to increase our collaborations with universities, Competence Centers, start-ups – adds Grondona – to develop new technological solutions to improve the works we create from the point of view of design, safety and sustainability”. The same five-year industrial plan of Webuild, which with Progetto Italia has consolidated the various realities acquired by the Group led by CEO Pietro Salini, pushes on digitization and the systematic adoption of disruptive innovations.