Coastal Road Australia

A new manufacturing research collaboration is aiming to develop geotechnical sensors that will monitor the conditions of Australia’s coastal roadways.

The project, which has secured A$420,000 (£235,000) in funding, is being led by geotechnical engineering consultancy Geoinventions Consulting Services, in collaboration with Griffith University.

It is also being supported by an Australia-based independent cooperative research centre, the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC).

The project is looking to create a prototype of geotechnical sensors for smart highway applications by using micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) technology. Once developed, these multi-functional sensors will measure the stress-strain behaviour and soil infrastructure interaction of roadways to identify potential risks and safety issues.

When completed, the prototype will allow Geoinventions to migrate from using conventional ‘one sensor, one location’ ‘vibrating wire’ sensor technology to the proposed ‘multi-sensors, one location’ efficient MEMS-driven sensor technology.

Currently, the technology used in geotechnical sensors is somewhat bulky and expensive. To overcome this, Griffith University and Geoinventions will use new MEMS technology to create a waterproof, compact and energy-efficient sensor that’s uniquely suited to Australia’s environment.

By embedding the MEMS technology, the market will have an effective Internet of Things (IoT) based alternative to traditional geotechnical monitoring that can be deployed at a relatively low cost.