WAMS at the TRA Conference 2018 (EN)


Vienna, April 2018:


At the Transport Research Arena 2018 Conference in Vienna, the waterway asset management system (WAMS) was presented to the scientific community demonstrating how predictive maintenance can be used to recognize and solve tomorrow’s waterway challenges today.



Presentation of WAMS at the TRA at the exhibition booth of viadonau (Picture: viadonau)



„The Danube is a very dynamic traffic system with one corresponding life of its own. It is therefore all the more important to provide tools and data in such a way that the challenges of tomorrow can be recognized and solved today.“


PD, PhD, MSc. Markus Hoffmann.




Consequent Digitalization:

The world of traffic is constantly changing thus creating new perspectives. In the dynamic structure of modes of transport in the European transport network, inland navigation scores with high loading capacities, low-interference traffic conditions and environmental friendliness. For viadonau it has long been clear: the prerequisite for this is reliable and predictive maintenance. The best strategy: consistent digititalizaiton, which is already popular with users of the waterway.


Recent developments on the Danube:

According to Statistics Austria, 9.6 million tons of goods were transported on the Austrian Danube in 2017 - an increase of six percent or half a million tons compared to the previous year. The figures prove the high quality of use and at the same time a solid interest of the transport industry to transport both bulk and general cargo over the Danube. The most commonly transported types of goods include forestry goods and petroleum products as well as ores and metal waste. There is special know-how behind the daily functionality of the waterway. Sure - a flowing transport route places very special demands on its maintenance and care. As for road and rail, the same applies to waterways: condition, availability and costs determine usage. What sounds like truism has something special for the experts who make sure that the river can be navigated safely every day Meaning. "We work on the Danube with a very dynamic traffic system that has a life of its own," explains Markus Hoffmann, traffic scientist at the Vienna University of Technology and managing director of Hoffmann Consult and as a project partner driving the development of the "Waterway Asset Management" operated by viadonau (WAMS). The expert explains: In addition to the unrivaled strengths of the river, such as generous spatial conditions and high resilience, it is also a lively transport system diverse natural space for a unique flora and fauna. With its strength alone, the river changes practically every day, and with it the general conditions for safe shipping. "It is all the more important to provide tools and data for the Danube during the development of the waterway management system in such a way that the challenges of tomorrow - economic and ecological - can be recognized and solved today," Hoffmann is convinced. The key for the traffic expert is the consistent digitalization of the Danube. The strategy behind it: comprehensive data for optimally tailored predictive maintenance and seamless monitoring. This is the only way to keep pace with the dynamics of the river and to position inland navigation as a reliable transport alternative.


Inland waterway shipping at the river Danube in Austria (Picture: viadonau)

Transparent river:

Digitally modelling of a natural traffic system? At viadonau, the river has been given a digital face for many years - with modern surveying and information technology such as multibeam echo sounder and GPS acquisition are literally getting to the bottom of the Danube. Let the current state of the riverbed and the effect of the flow force examine themselves as well as the influence of hydraulic engineering measures. The really crucial thing, however, is not just to collect the data obtained, but to combine it into one holistic information concept and to derive sensible and sustainable measures from it. Where are shallows sections occurring? What influence do hydraulic engineering have? How do groynes and floods influence river flow and bed load dynamics ? What specific routes do the captains choose along the fairway? For the experts of Waterway Asset Management at viadonau the key word is: look ahead. Proactive bed load management for example: Where the Danube has too much gravel due to accumulation, the gravel is dredged and added again upstream thus fighting erosion at the same time. The construction of entire islands, such as in the Rote Werd ford area east of Vienna, also has a targeted influence on the river flow behavior and prevents critical shallow areas. At the same time, new natural habitats for plants and animals are created. The precise measures are made possible by the innovative linking of various information sources from in the Waterway Asset Management System - WAMS - a precision instrument for integrative and sustainable solutions in the daily operation of waterway management on the Danube. For the traffic expert Markus Hoff- mann it is clear: “The development of the WAMS would not have been possible without interdisciplinary teamwork and is an example of the corporate culture practiced at viadonau.“


Anonymisierte Auswertung des Schiffsverkehrs als Heatmap im WAMS (Bild: viadonau)

In the Transport Arena TRA2018:

Show your transport innovations. At the "Transport Research Arena" in Vienna, companies from the mobility sector presented themselves once again at their best - and this is - not surprisingly - mostly digital. From networked electromobility to digital traffic safety systems to modern logistics software solutions, Europe's largest traffic research conference from April 16 to 19 2018 was all about digitalization. When viewing the modes of transport and their innovations, viadonau showed itself in calculated understatement and instead relied on information and practice-oriented know-how. Because: Europe’s leading waterway infrastructure operator has been making digital innovations for a long time.


In addition to the "River Information Services" (RIS) to the very latest. With WAMS, viadonau currently has one of the highest levels of development in the world in terms of inland navigation in terms of sustainable and forward-looking waterway management. One reason for this is the meticulous surveying work. The viadonau measurement ship "Epsilon" should not only be of interest to visitors at the Transport Research Arena visitors. With the most modern multibeam system in the viadonau fleet, the seven and a half meter long boat sent a clear message to potential users of the waterway. “Our goal is to provide customers with a highly available and reliable waterway that can be used at any time without hesitation.


The data from our measuring vessels are particularly important for this. They are at the beginning of every maintenance measure Danube ”, emphasizes Markus Simoner, head of waterway management at viadonau. Tightly involved in the development of WAMS, the expert knows both the challenges as well as the opportunities of digitalization of the dynamic transport system. “The Danube presents itself anew every day. The art is to learn from the river every day and at the same time to take proactive measures, i.e. to solve problems before they come into effect. This is hardly conceivable today without sensible digital systems.“


Digitaler all-rounder WAMS:

Meaningful digitization on the Danube means not only digitally surveying the river, but also to understanding it. This is exactly what happens with WAMS. Started as a research project in 2012, it provides the digital information and is in operation as monitoring system since 2015. In order to do justice to the diverse activities of waterway maintenance, the system has been systematically expanded since then. "Regular updates sharpen the system, for example, in the event of changing requirements for accurate bed load management, but also for other hydraulic engineering activities such as on groynes and tail units," explains Simoner.

On the one hand, WAMS helps with the most precise planning of hydraulic engineering measures, but also processes navigation data from shipping. The traffic data show the specific use of the waterway and thus provide information about the effect of maintenance measures. Markus Simoner: “WAMS fulfills an important feedback function with information about exactly which routes the ships take on the Danube. That supports us to make the necessary interventions on the waterway even more precise and tailored to the needs. ”The data with which the experts at viadonau work is not only useful for maintaining the fairway, but also for navigating it.


What once started out as a glowing pixel on the monitors of the measuring ships is intended to serve as a valuable source of information for shipping companies and skippers providing relevant data about current conditions on the Danube. In The Danube River Information Services (DoRIS) the data is prepared in a user-friendly manner and can also be called up via the DoRIS app regardless of location. Thus a closed digital cycle from survey to maintenance and shipping is closed.


Anonymised automated evaluation of waterway traffic as a heat map in the WAMS (Picture: WAMS)
Digitalization of the waterway Danube at the TRA 2018 Conference in Vienna (Picture: viadonau)

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