Technological innovation beyond efficiency and productivity

The evolution of technology and the diversity of fields in which new developments and advances occur favor a company with the characteristics of Acciona, with work areas as different as construction, energy generation or urban water management, to name three examples. , incorporate tools and technological solutions that generate positive impact both in the operations themselves and in the work of the operators in the field, so that it is easier and with less risk of injuries and accidents for them.

Exoskeletons, underwater drones and robots

This is the case of exoskeletons. A piece of equipment that, explains Elena Navarro, head of Innovation Business Development at Acciona, “has different applications depending on the environment. They can be passive, which basically provide the worker with a second spine that supports the weight of the load they have to carry, and reduces fatigue and injuries. And other types of exoskeletons, Navarro continues, are active: they have a motor that provides additional force. It is not about, she warns, “creating a superman, but about facilitating physically demanding tasks and reducing injuries as a result of repetitive activity that requires considerable weight loads.”

An added effect of exoskeletons is that “they help expand the profile of people who work in these environments. Regardless of physical build, more people may be suitable for a specific job.

Another example of innovation applied to the prevention of occupational risks that Navarro highlights is the excavation of tunnels. A complex activity in itself that has specific risks, “specifically, in those that are done with blasting, it is necessary to check that it has been exploded correctly and that there is no danger of rockfalls. Therefore, the risk of making the first verification entry is no longer assumed by a person, but by a robotic platform.

In maintenance and inspection of the bottoms of hydraulic dams, those sent to carry out inspections and take samples are underwater drones “previously they were done by divers, who could find themselves in situations of certain risk that the turbidity of the water would make inspection difficult for them. Now, they dive in knowing what they are going to find and what they have to do.

Virtual reality.

Training with virtual reality, or virtual training, is an area in which Navarro affirms that “we have made a lot of progress and there are cases in which, in fact, it is essential. Obviously, the best training is the one you have in a real environment. But that real environment can have significant risks. As chemicals, such as changing chlorine bottles in a water purifier; or electric, in a wind turbine nacelle. Through virtual reality they recreate the spaces “where they have to operate, and the operations they have to perform. When they have to face real life, they have the peace of mind of arriving much better prepared, they are familiar with the work spaces and have repeated the safety protocols many times. “The risk is significantly minimized.”


One of the functions of the Innovation area, a team of specialists in robotics, immersive technologies, artificial intelligence, is to “detect opportunities for improvement, efficiency and maturity of technologies, and check how they can be implemented on a large scale. We do tests in controlled but very real environments and we apply them based on our reality. “We have to be very clear about where our workers are and what we do.” In acquiring this vision, “the contribution of those on the ground is essential. “They identify their needs and requirements and we identify the most appropriate technology for each case.”