The Colas research network reflects the Group's global capability. With locations on five continents, our technical teams remain close to their customers, while benefiting from permanent contact with their peers in other subsidiaries as well as with the Campus for Science and Techniques (CST) near Paris.
Campus for Science and Techniques
Our 50 regional laboratories, with some 2,000 research experts, engineers and technicians are a driving force in the exchange of the Colas expertise and know-how amongst research experts, academics, industrial sites and our operational teams. They are involved on a daily basis in the design, application and monitoring of Colas products and techniques and in developing innovative new products and processes.
New products stem not only from studies and tests conducted by laboratories, but also from the numerous exchanges within the Group, among researchers, industrial sites and teams to develop worldwide. Innovations at Colas are rolled out globally and adapted to fit with specific local requirements, weather and traffic.
This one of a kind resource enables us to respond to our customers’ needs and anticipate the techniques of tomorrow.
Paving the road to the future
From Wattway, the world's first ever photovoltaic road surface, to Exopush, an exoskeleton tailored for the workforces of tomorrow. Colas are paving the road to the future through our visionary innovation portfolio.
We aim to utilise our world-class research capabilities to deliver sustainable, long-term infrastructure solutions. It is at the heart of what we do.
Wattway - The first photovoltaic road surface in the world
The fruit of 5 years of research jointly led by Colas and the INES, the French National Institute for Solar Energy, Wattway is a patented French innovation. By combining the techniques of road construction with those of photovoltaic production, Wattway supplies clean, renewable energy, under all types of vehicle traffic.
Learn more at: www.wattwaybycolas.com or download the brochure.
Flowell - Dynamic intelligent road lighting
The Flowell solution, developed by Colas R&D in collaboration with CEA Tech, makes it possible to organise the shared space of roads and city streets. Installed on existing roads, Flowell offers a great degree of flexibility and adapts the infrastructure to the needs of the community in real time.
Flowell streamlines traffic on existing roadways by giving priority to certain users over specific time periods. For example, turn parking spaces reserved in the daytime for deliveries, into car parking spaces at night, create temporary drop-off spaces around schools, and secure pedestrian crossings by enhancing their visibility with light-emitting markings. In the longer term, a continuous line can become discontinuous and instantaneously redistribute the number of allocated lanes according to real-time traffic conditions.
The Flowell solution consists of panels bonded to the pavement that can bear all types of vehicle traffic with the same grip as conventional road surfacing. The panels, composed of LEDs encapsulated in a multilayer substrate, are connected to an electrical grid and controlled remotely.
Exopush - Safer working
An example of our Open Innovation approach where we collaborate to co-create innovative solutions by bringing together start-ups and operations and with solutions tested directly in the field, is the investment by Colas in RB3D. This Auxerre-based company specialises in the construction of cobots and exoskeletons. We have co-developed Exopush, an exoskeleton intended for workers who apply asphalt mix by hand.
The EXOPUSH is used by actuating the handle like a normal rake, then an electric actuator is instantly driven to help push or pull the tool. It is supported by a harness and link to the ground via a force leg, which makes it light and allows to develop its full power. The user is protected from thrust efforts and therefore naturally maintains a straight position while keeping all his freedom of movement.
Protected by 3 international patents, EXOPUSH improves the ergonomics of a task that has been done with a rake for as long as can be remembered, it removes fatigue and reduces the amount of stress experienced by operatives.
Pioneering new techniques for surfacing
Our company dates back to 1922. Even then we were innovators, creating new and improved products for all our projects - we were pioneers of introducing a new bitumen based asphalt product, replacing the existing tar based road surfacing.
In the 1980’s we launched the innovative Fibredec proprietary system and we are continuing to develop and adapt this to suit our latest customer needs.
And for the ultimate in the future of road surfacing, Colas has developed Wattway, the first photovoltaic road surface in the world.
Opening the way to safer roads
ANAIS is a new solution which collects and analyses data relating to the behaviour of vehicles on roads, making it possible to detect warning zones on the road network and provide maintenance recommendations to the network manager. The solution won the Road Safety Innovation 2019 award for Emergency Response and Improvements to Road Space at the 3rd edition of the Road Safety Innovation Awards in France.
Colas has signed a partnership with Michelin Driving Data Intelligence (DDI) for the acquisition of driving data in real-life situations. This data, is reported, then aggregated, anonymized and contextualized on a processing platform designed to detect warning zones. These zones are then in turn analyzed and processed by Mobility by Colas to help local authorities target specific road safety maintenance operations.
Acquiring real driving data brings a new dimension to road network diagnostics, as the analysis can be both continuous and comprehensive. ANAIS makes it possible to make roads safer.
Innovative Stakeholder Engagement
Hello Travaux is the innovative Colas app that enables local residents, businesses and road users to stay up to date with news from the site. The free app contains all the latest information about the project so that those impacted can know in advance about how it might impact their daily life.
It also allows users to message the site team directly from within the app and chat to them about the project.
Developed by the Colas Digital Solutions team, the app allows stakeholders impacted by projects to take control of the information they receive and get live, up to date information.