Road construction is rarely an ideal place for anything. It’s unsafe for workers, it causes traffic issues, and nearby businesses can suffer from it. One more thing can be added to the list, as self-driving cars are also having a hard time navigating construction zones, as well.
For technology companies, like those working on self-driving cars, coding in a static environment can be easy. But, throw a constantly changing and non-standardized situation at them and things can get infinitely more complicated. There are many cues on highways that generally look the same, like mile markers, speed limit signs, stop signs, and road markings that autonomous vehicles rely on to navigate. When road construction is introduced, however, things are not so cut and dry. There are a variety of different ways that workers can sign and barricade construction zones and those variances are causing issues with coding, according to Wired.
From December 2015 to November 2016, self-driving car companies have gathered data regarding what caused crashes and what caused the humans to have to take control of the vehicle. Construction zones were reported to be one of the more common reasons that humans had to take control. As Wired points out, a large majority State and local DOTs also do not have a database that shows where currently active construction sites are. Having a reliable database would allow the cars avoid those areas all together.
There are some possible solutions, however, but they will require a lot of work. The construction zones aren’t really a huge problem for cars that still having a steering wheel and pedal, as long as someone is physically able to operate it. For those who cannot, or in cars that don’t have a steering wheel or pedals, some companies are planning to open call centers to help the car navigate around trouble areas.
Another option uses short range communication technology to allow the cars to speak to each other which could alert other cars of a hazard up ahead. According to Wired, “the National Highway Safety Administration plans to mandate that all new cars come equipped with this ‘talking’ tech by 2020.”
While not directly a problem for the construction industry to solve, as self-driving technology becomes more and more viable, some changes will probably need to be made. After driving in different states around the country, it’s clear that standard practices for signage and barricades need to be addressed and enforced, but it’s unclear exactly how that should happen.
Full story: Why Self-Driving Cars *Can’t Even* with Construction Zones | Wired
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.
Road construction is rarely an ideal place for many things. It’s unsafe for workers, it causes traffic issues, and nearby businesses can suffer from it. One more thing can be added to the list, as self-driving cars are also having a hard time navigating construction zones, as well.
In the construction world, 3D printing technology has traditionally focused on buildings and other static structures, like this 3D printed bridge in Madrid, Spain. Not anymore, though, as the world’s first 3D printed excavator was officially unveiled to the attendees at last week’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas.
Augmented reality on construction job sites has been a focus of several technology companies in recent years. As of now the clear leaders in the category have been the DAQRI smart helmet and glasses and the MIcrosoft Hololens. Early this year, DAQRI introduced their new smart glasses, which are the lighter and more mobile version of their fully protective smart hard hat. The new DAQRI product is a clear competitor for Microsoft’s Hololens, which is also a smart headset product. Backed by the powerful construction technology company Trimble and in a partnership with the University of Cambridge, the Hololens is getting tested with 2 new concepts specifically for the construction industry: Automated Progress Monitoring and Automated Bridge Damage Detection.
The concept of a bubble has surprisingly inspired many designers within the construction industry in recent years. There’s the inflatable bubble building in Shanghai that is supposed to help air and light quality, the inflatable tunnel that will protect pedestrians and business during road construction in Canada, and even a solar cell that was created to be lighter than a soap bubble. We can now add Binishells to our list.
Construction workers work long hours in some pretty rough exterior conditions a lot of the time and there’s no doubt that fatigue is a major factor in job site accidents. In recent years, we’ve seen a few technological advances that will either reduce worker fatigue or sense it, including robotic attachments, lighter and less vibratory power tools, and camera systems on CAT machines that sense when drivers are closing their eyes too much. Recently, a company out of Australia has been developing a smart hard hat that sensors when mental fatigue has set in.
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
As consistent and strong as wood, concrete, and steel have been for the past centuries, researchers and scientists are continually trying to improve them or create a better replacement product. Many have tried, but none have yet to succeed on a large scale. The latest scientific breakthrough takes a look at the geometry of a structure, rather than simply the material itself.
The following is a guest post from Kari at Appfluence, maker of Priority Matrix, a priority management solution that helps construction teams execute more effectively, by centralizing project information and enhancing communication.
As a manager, it’s not uncommon to ask yourself, ‘am I doing this right?’ Even the most experienced managers in the construction industry consistently strive to learn different methods of management that allow them to increase their team efficiency and deliver more successful projects.