What would a typical day at the construction site look like in the future? Imagine an unmanned drone flying over the site while it takes a range of photographs in order to calculate in real time the building progress, identify potential hazards on-site, or quality issues and help acquire other useful information in a very effective and low cost manner.
Meanwhile, on the ground below, several driverless vehicles roam around with exact navigational precision, using advanced GPS technology.
The site manager can monitor the project progress, manage the various workflows and checklists and receive and send notifications about important aspects of the construction in real time.
At the same time, a few kilometers away, the engineers from their classy offices, can watch the building process on-line and exchange information with other stakeholders, ensuring that the anticipated quality is maintained throughout the construction process.
This scene is not taken from a science fiction novel. It is a reality of a very probable construction site in the not-so-distant future. In fact, currently drones are already being used in construction sites around the world and unmanned machinery is currently on the market.
In the image above is demonstrated an example of how drones are currently being used in the construction of the Sacramento King’s new stadium in California, in order to combine video imagery from the physical site with computer generated designs to show how the new stadium will develop.
Once per day, several drones fly automatically above the Sacramento worksite, collecting video footage. That footage is then converted into a three-dimensional picture of the site, which is then fed into software that compares it to digital architectural plans. The software can show how the project is progressing and can also highlight parts that may be falling behind schedule
In another example (image above), Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, Komatsu, has recently unveiled at the MINExpo show in Las Vegas, a mining truck designed specifically for unmanned operation. This Autonomous Haulage Vehicle, as it’s called, has no operator cab at all, making it a bit difficult at a glance to tell whether you’re looking at the front or the rear of the truck. But in a world where everything is ran by computers, such things are not that important. Nonetheless, Komatsu says that they hope to bring a production model to the market in the near future.
In an industry that has historically not been known for its technological innovation, construction appears to be making up for lost time. This new reality in which data is collected and managed from a network of devices and sensors, processed and then shared will undoubtedly lead to more informed and strategic decision making, on and off the jobsite.
In this context, we are currently developing the ACCEPT system, which will leverage the technological innovations of our time in order to ensure the quality of the construction and thereby bridge the gap between design and performance of Energy Efficient Buildings.