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Costain collaborates to revolutionise complex programme delivery



Partnering with National Highways, i3P* and TRL**, Costain has managed the development of a new industry-wide scoring system for Connected and Autonomous Plant (CAP) that is set to revolutionise complex infrastructure projects by making work faster, safer, and more sustainable.


With a proven track record in complex programme delivery, Costain deploys innovative technologies to transform UK infrastructure with optimised approaches, pioneering working practices and collaborative behaviours.


By establishing a common language this first of its kind framework, the CAP levels, will enable connected and autonomous plant to be specified and deployed on construction schemes.

Launched at Futureworx 2022, visitors to the industry event had first glimpse of new CAP levels which will score machinery according to its level of automation. This standardised measure will offer clarity and a straightforward way to compare several types of machinery to suit different tasks.


Tim Embley, Costain’s research, development and innovation director and i3P founding member, said “Our expertise in complex projects and digitally optimised delivery as well as our role as industry leader places us at the heart of delivering the new CAP levels. We are creating a blueprint for infrastructure that harnesses the power of secure, trusted, meaningful data and the benefits of digital technologies.”



National Highways Head of Innovation Annette Pass said “We know that Connected and Autonomous Plant offers opportunity to revolutionise the construction sector by making work safer, quicker and brings significant benefits for the environment. That is why we are committed to introducing more CAP onto sites as we continue to develop the roads of the future and Futureworx has been the perfect platform to showcase our new CAP levels. By establishing more collaborative relationships with innovators and academics we hope to continue to lead in this field.”


The term Connected and Autonomous Plant refers to construction plant that is connected to its environment through sensors or wireless transfer of data between a remote operator while the autonomy element refers to aspects of the vehicle’s operation and movement around a site.

Automation may range from vehicles with sat nav and park assist to fully automated digger trucks or automated cone laying vehicles, with more innovative solutions under development.


According to National Highways, the ongoing digital revolution in the construction industry can increase productivity dramatically and generate billions of pounds in savings. At the same time, digital transformation can reduce disruption to the public and improve safety.


The system is the latest development in the CAP Roadmap launched by National Highways and i3P in 2020 which identified challenges and workstreams to support a goal of making automation business as usual in construction by 2035.


As consultant and partner to the construction industry innovation community, Costain will play a key role in the delivery of connected autonomous plant.


Discover more about how we use innovative technologies to transform UK infrastructure

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