Digitalisation and Automation of Road Materials Compaction: SPARC Intelligent Compaction Kit

A. Sounthararajah, S. Sivagnanasuntharam, R. Ranasinghe and J. Kodikara

‘Intelligent Compaction’ (IC) broadly refers to the compaction of road materials, primarily using advanced sensing and automation, which achieves the target performance over their design life. Our recent international workshop on intelligent compaction highlighted that countries like US and China have implemented IC technology in practice as a mandatory requirement for contractors almost 6 years ahead of Australia. Our online questionnaire survey results indicated that the slow adoption of IC technology in Australia is mainly due to the lack of standards or specifications for the use of IC technology and the lack of confidence among contractors who already have an existing fleet of conventional rollers for compaction. There are some retrofittable kits available in the market that can facilitate IC with conventional rollers. However, the main limitation of these kits is that they provide only one parameter out of various intelligent compaction meter values (ICMVs). We are developing an innovative kit with cutting-edge hardware and software tools to facilitate performance-based compaction of road materials. The key features of our kit include [i] facilitating simultaneous visualisation of multiple ICMVs on both onboard and remote systems in real-time during compaction, [ii] providing versatility to retrofit a conventional roller, [iii] flexibility to incorporate corrections for different ICMV indicators, [iv] facilitates customising to construction specifications in line with the ongoing industrial digitalisation, and [v] integrable with the existing post-processing software such as Veta to view and analyse the collected IC data. In this paper, we provide the basic design concepts of the kit, its functionalities and capabilities with initial test results. The design concepts of the kit prototype will be further refined in the future based on the field trials undertaken on different materials using different roller types. The experiences gained through using our kit in actual construction projects will pave the way to develop robust and data-oriented specifications for IC to be used by the Australian road construction industry.