Digital transformation of road paving, also known as Asphalt 4.0, refers to a series of smart and autonomous systems fueled by big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things (IoT), etc.. with capacity to significantly push forward the efficiency, productivity, quality, reliability and sustainability of asphalt roads. This involves the use of digital tools to automate, monitor and improve the way, in which organisations develop conventional activities , such as management, manufacturing of bituminous mixtures, supply or laying.
Through the use of digital technology to improve the way in which the organisation develops its activity, to help those working in it. In addition, they also facilitate and accelerate the transition of mobility sector towards its new users, such as electric and automated vehicles.
The development of the Asphalt 4.0 concept affects all areas of the organisation and for this reason it should be directed at the highest level.The concept is based on three pillars:
► Digital technologies and tools for the safe, effective and efficient data management, which includes its generation, storage and transfer. Some examples are the cloud storage, internet of things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication systems, advanced sensors, autonomous robots or cybersecurity protocols.
► Smart management systems able to process all data obtained and identify patterns, which will lead to optimum decision making and in a timeframe, which would not be reasonably feasible for humans. Some examples are the digital business management, digital talent management, digital innovation management, digital sales management and digital project management
► Customer experience. The consequence of previous technologies is a dynamic production system, which is constantly adopting innovations and readapting to maximise the customer satisfaction. Roads are not just delivered after construction, but monitored, managed and maintained based on the instant information that is being received and the resulting optimum strategy. Some examples are digital marketing, e-commerce, customer service, customer intelligence and user experience
Development of the Asphalt 4.0 concept implies at least 3 very concrete criteria: transparency, traceability and innovation. An adequate Asphalt 4.0 transformation process will result in greater efficiency of the organisation, better guarantees and durability of the offered products and services, savings of time and resources, a permanent innovation process and a totally different way of managing customer satisfaction (costumer experience).
Development of the Asphalt 4.0 concept seems to be the most adequate answer of mobility and transportation sectors to an increasingly disruptive context and concerning economic situation. This is, without any doubt, an exciting challenge.
For this reason, its development must go hand in hand with a new generation of tendering systems, which finally meet the huge needs of the sector for innovation, transparency, technical solvency, cost-efficiency and resources optimisation. It should also be adopted by all the stakeholders involved in every stage of the road service life, from its design to its final milling.
More information about the latest digital innovations in the asphalt sector can be found at our Innovation page: