Intertraffic World Infrastructure

TECHNOLOGY PROFILE: How Argo from Movyon is revolutionizing infrastructure monitoring

Thursday, 16 May 2024

In the ever-evolving world of highway asset management, a versatile new solution is now available that assists with planning the maintenance of bridges and tunnels. Argo is a platform designed by Movyon, part of Italy’s national road operator Autostrade per l’Italia, which helps to significantly improve the ways in which critical structures like bridges, overpasses, viaducts, and tunnels are monitored and maintained.

At the heart of Argo lies its digital inventory, a comprehensive system that collects and manages real-time structural data. “We are monitoring over 650,000s components on more than 4,000 bridges in Italy,” says Roberta Loiacono, marketing and communication director at Movyon. “And it’s scalable even from that – we have already had experience with an incredible amount of infrastructure.”

Data can be gathered in a variety of ways, with different sources fully integrated within the platform. This data fusion can include everything from traditional manual surveys to IoT sensors and drone surveys.

Flights of drones can be equipped with high-resolution video cameras and lidar sensors that perform three-dimensional scans, transforming structures into millions of georeferenced points in space, which can be used to build digital twins. Meanwhile, with IoT sensors, Argo can assess and monitor the real-time health of infrastructure assets.

Even without full digital twinning, Building Information Models (BIM) generated from the digital data support operator asset managers, giving easy navigation through infrastructure models and associated defects and pictures, with clear colour-coding highlighting areas that require attention. “The operators managing this platform can easily interact with all the components of the bridges,” says Loiacono.

“The purpose of this platform is to improve the lifecycle management of infrastructure in Italy,” continues Loiacono. “We want to better monitor and maintain infrastructure with optimized plans and minimize the impact on the traffic avoid.”

Argo’s mobile app assists inspectors in the field, enabling them to document defects (or lack of) for each infrastructure component, supported by photographs and precise positioning. “With the mobile app we ensure data governance and the efficient use of the data, when bridge and tunnel inspections take place. Surveyors are obliged when using this tool to record every type of defect and to correlate them with pictures. They cannot close the inspection without inspecting everything and signing it off,” Loiacono explains.

Argo also has impressive future-ready remote inspection capabilities. “We are developing what will might be possible in regulations in the future – remote inspection through the use of drones and the support of digital twins,” Loiacono reveals. “Using digital twins, you can analyze the defects and using artificial intelligence predict its evolution, without the cost and effort of going to a site every time.”

Remote monitoring of infrastructure helps to improve safety by reducing the need for workers to be deployed on busy, dangerous roads, as well as reducing the need for lane closures and traffic disruption.

The development of Argo stemmed from a real need within Autostrade per l’Italia, the road network operator in Italy that Movyon is  part of, flexibility and innovation being core tenets of the offering, ensuring that Argo can cater to the diverse needs of infrastructure managers worldwide.

What truly sets Argo apart from competitors, according to Loiacono, is its comprehensive and scalable nature. “The real difference with our platform compared to other solutions on the market is that competitors are often focused on only one a part of the solution, for example just the sensors,” she says. “Argo looks at the full picture and is as uniquely scalable as it is modular.”