Utility strike avoidance on Highways England network (KTN and i3P Innovation Exchange challenge)

KTN-iX is looking for innovative solutions to avoid striking utility assets during maintenance and construction of Highways England’s Strategic Road Network. The winning business(es) will be given opportunities to present solutions to major infrastructure clients, and to deliver a demonstration with Highways England delivery partners.

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The infrastructure clients, and supply chain members of i3P all have a part to play in the eliminations of asset strikes on all major infrastructure projects in the UK. Much technology and procedural change has made significant progress in tackling the problem of asset strikes, but they are still far too prevalent with a significant cost and danger to life.

The elimination of asset strikes during both major construction work and general maintenance is a key priority in Highways England’s commitment to “Home Safe and Well”

A working group of Highways England’s Smart Motorway Alliance is developing the project to test solutions to the problem of hitting services around, above or below the roads. All roads are crisscrossed by a multitude of utility and other service providers pipes, cables & equipment.

Some services can be hundreds of years old when there was no central collation of records of what was where. Even with modern installations, position, type and owners of services are not recorded in any kind of central database, although some small pilots have proven the value of such detailed information being shared across those who need to know. The challenge is to explore anything that will identify hidden assets and or reduce hitting them when carrying out construction or maintenance. Innovation can be included throughout the process from design, construction, maintenance and handover.

Highways England are at the forefront of technological equipment use and produced a significant contribution to construction technology with the connected and autonomous plant roadmap. “The use of connected and autonomous construction techniques will become the business-as-usual approach across UK construction. This roadmap provides a tool for stakeholders to support their decisions on planning, strategy and investment”. Any technological developments in asset strike detection equipment will need to be mindful of this roadmap: click here to download a copy.

The project will have two themes which will examine different aspect of the problem. The problem is both one of (1) technological solutions that can identify hazards before the commencement of work and (2) a human challenge to identify poor procedures and behaviours that compound the lack of accurate date leading to a significant number of poor outcomes. These problems can either be considered in isolation or in an ideal world work in tandem to provide an interlocked solution.

The i3P working group would welcome approaches in any or all of the equipment categories identified earlier with potential in topics such as:
• Advanced data collection and design systems
• Buried asset detection system
• Asset visualisation systems
• Behaviour Science

Proposals are welcome for:
• Existing market-ready technologies
• Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application.
• Universities, RTO and Catapults with above TRL 5 solutions.

Potential solutions may come from a host of sectors not limited to
• Data and software industry
• Oil & Gas exploration
• Defence Industry
• Nuclear
• Geospatial
• Behaviour Science
• Asset Management
• Energy utilities

The project is to be completed by March 2022, and proposals which cannot demonstrate potential by then will not be considered.

This challenge is sponsored by the following organisations which have a vested interest in engaging with potential solution providers who can meet their requirements: Arup, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttal, Bently Systems, Costain, Department for Transport, EDF Energy, Environment Agency, Ferrovial, Galliford Try, Highways England, HS2, J Murphy, Jacobs, John Graham, Keltbray, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Mace, Morgan Sindall, Mott Macdonald, National Grid, Network Rail, Sellafield, Skanska, Tideway, Vinci & WSP.

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenger. The package may also include:
• Support from KTN and members of i3P
• Support in the development of a prototype or pilot.
• Technical support from i3P members with support from their business teams as required.
• A place in i3P events and publications
• A potential business collaboration

Solution Requirements

Functional Requirements
• Detect, identify and map utility assets
• Map, display position & record utility assets
• Modify behaviours that led to utility assets strikes

Technical Characteristics
• Mobile within the confines of site power & mobility
• Any IT system will need to be compatible with a range of different members systems and no integration with customer systems can be presumed

Operating Conditions
• The systems will be operating on motorways: read the requirements for safe plant operation here.
• Subject to UK weather
• Subject to Highways England equipment requirements that can be found here

Solutions should be prepared for feasibility assessments, where needed, to be completed within 2 months of competition win, and to be fully deployable for prototype testing at site within 3 months of feasibility completion or selection win.

Entrants to this competition must be:
• Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
• UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base to commercialise the opportunity


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