How can we improve safety in the construction industry?
In a unique cooperation between NCC, Microsoft, Sigma, Arrow and Edins Byggkranar we have developed digital safety barriers to identify risks when working with heavy crane lifting.
Most large construction sites have a crane that is important part of the workload. Lifting can be difficult with limited visibility, which makes heavy crane lifting a large safety hazard. NCC wanted to explore if digital safety barriers could increase safety on construction sites. Together with Sigma, Microsoft, Arrow and Edins Byggkranar, NCC is now testing new technology for object detection. At the construction site Ångström Laboratory outside Uppsala, they now explore if digital barriers with object detection can alert workers on the ground and prevent them from being under suspended loads from tower crane.
One of the core priorities in the construction industry today is health and safety. For the last 10 years, looking at the Nordic countries, the construction industry is one of the industries with most fatal accidents, where one of three high-risk areas are heavy crane lifting.
One of NCC:s key focus areas are safe workplaces. When it comes to heavy crane lifting NCC do a lot to prevent accidents from happening, they have processes and physical barriers in place, but the human factors always remains a risk and there is always more that can be done. Therefore, NCC wanted to examine if they could complement and increase safety on construction sites with digital safety barriers – using AI technology in the cranes.
“We knew early on that in order to succeed with this test it was imperative to have competence diversity. That’s why we have partnered up with companies from other industries”
The purpose of this test is to explore if digital barriers can increase safety when working with heavy crane lifting. The goal is to prevent personnel from being under suspended load from a tower crane. In this test Sigma wanted to show that image analysis can be used to interpret what is under and near the crane.
At the test site, Ångström Laboratory outside Uppsala, cameras, computers and network has been installed on a crane. Cameras attached under the tower crane collects images that is being processed in the computer located in the crane cabin. The Azure based solution has been trained to detect people and vehicles under the crane using deep learning on real time video. The processing is done in the crane cabin to instantly alert the crane operator and the personnel on the ground if they are inside a defined risk area.
The solution can detect both people and vehicles on the ground.
By using modern cloud technologies such as AI and Machine Learning we are able to bring new ideas to life. The first step in this test has been to train the AI -model in Azure with images that’s been collected. A simple view has been built to visualize the current situation analyzed by the AI-model. This test has shown that it is possible to detect, and in the end also warn, employees who are under suspended loads or are on their way into a risk zone. It also shows that computer vision works in near real-time, with image processing executed directly in the crane.
The project has been very much appreciated and welcoming in the construction industry since it encounters a risk area when it comes to heavy crane lifting interlocked with the human factor.
“Sigma’s experience and competence has complemented us well in this project. Contributing with key technical skills and advising us how to set up a solution for a valuable proof of concept that also has the prerequisites for a potential production solution“
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