Autopista del Sol” is a 108 Km-long toll highway, which links the cities of Málaga, Marbella and Estepona, in the Southern coast of Spain. The name of the facility literally means “Sunny Highway” as the road runs along the “Costa del Sol”, one of the most important tourist areas in Southern Europe, filled with beach resorts, marines and golf courses in an outstanding countryside, enjoying a mild and nearly always sunny climate.

Since the construction of the first section (Málaga-Estepona) in 1999 and its completion to Guadiaro in 2002, the highway contributes notably to improve traffic mobility along the area and constitutes a safe, efficient transport alternative in a highly-congested corridor. Apart from providing a safe an fast link for passenger cars and buses, the motorway also serves for long-haul heavy goods vehicles with origin and destination in Algeciras, the biggest container port of in Southern Europe.

“Autopista del Sol” facilities include a Control Center, which manages the daily operations and traffic safety of the highway. The different sections include a total of 10 double-tube tunnels totaling a tunnel length of 11,6 km. All tunnels are equipped with different safety and control devices, including but not limited to, cameras, gas detectors and traffic sensors, variable message signs and emergency telephones.

The data of the different sensors and control devices installed at each tunnel is collected and locally gathered in a concentrator equipment called “ERU” (Spanish acronym meaning “Remote Control Station”). The local concentrators (ERUs) are connected to the central SCADA server, which in the end collects and shows all that information to the staff of the Control Center.

The Control Centre is located at the main toll plaza. In this site the central SCADA system monitors and controls the network, allowing the highway operations staff not only to watch the road but to perform some actions on the systems in order to keep control on the remote systems to prevent eventual situations of danger, as well as handle the incidents on the road as fast and effective as possible.

To this purpose, a commercial SCADA-type software application was installed during the construction of the highway and has been in operation for a number of years. In 2016 the managers of “Autopista del Sol” decided to carry out the development a new SCADA solution to keep the levels of service required in these critical systems. After studying the different possible scenarios, the selected approach was the development of a complete on-purpose SCADA software, based on an open-source core component.

AUSOL OPEN-ITS SOLUTION USING MANGO

The new application under development is called “Open-ITS” and is intended to manage the whole system, including the device’s drivers, the ERU, the SCADA server and the Graphical User Interface.

Although some of the software components were developed in-house, for the SCADA system it was decided to look for a solution out in the market. Several products were evaluated but the traditional ones showed up as obsolete, closed and expensive. Finally, MANGO was chosen for the project because of its versatility, open source philosophy and affordable price. It has been installed on a virtual machine with 8 GB ram and 500 GB hard drive. The OS is Centos 7 64bit using the NoSQL MANGO database for data storage.

In a couple of days the server was up and running the MANGO instance and ready for gathering the ERUs data using mainly the Modbus TCP/IP interface and Metadata points provided to connect to them. The installation process is amazingly simple and fast. The first system prototypes were developed in less than three months and some of the systems are running in test mode since the second half of 2016.

More than 500 data points have been created for each tunnel and by the end of the deployment, once the SCADA is connected to all tunnel devices, we expect the system will be managing more than 5,000 data points. To store the data, the NoSQL database is used to take advantage of its good performance, compression and scalability. The report and graph features are very useful too.

Data presentation to the Control Centre and the real-time interaction with the devices can be carried out thanks to a HTML5 based GUI, which was developed to retrieve information from the API REST served by MANGO. As an additional advantage, the REST API is a very simple and powerful tool that makes easier the data collection to external applications or layers.

As this is a 24/7 system, reliability and robustness is a must. No significant issues have come out during the time that the application has been working in test mode.