While Google has been testing their driverless car for months and months, with mixed results, the construction industry will actually be the first to enjoy the benefits of the developing technology.
Royal Truck & Equipment has developed a driverless Truck Mounted Attenuator (TMA) truck that they hope will save lives and reduce injury of construction workers on highway work zones. We see the non-driverless trucks everywhere, their purpose is to follow behind a road crew as a highly visible warning sign to other drivers on the road. They have an impact absorbing attachment on the back of the truck that reduces the damage from impact that these trucks experience daily.
The Autonomous TMA (ATMA) truck was created because Royal Truck & Equipment realized that it was a bit silly that in order to protect drivers and workers ahead of the truck, they had a human driving the truck whom would be susceptible to injury.
“I can tell you that these things (TMA trucks) are hit almost on a daily basis and they actually save lives,” said Robert Roy, President of Royal Truck & Equipment.
With the help of Micro Systems, developer of many different unmanned military vehicles which also save many America lives, the ATMA has become a reality and will hit streets soon. It works by using GPS data from the vehicle in front of the leader car, which tells the ATMA how fast and in which direction the leader car is moving.
Removing humans from being a shield for injury is obviously a step in the right direction, though it is still a bit scary to trust a vehicle driven by a computer system. It will be interesting to see if and how this technology could be adapted to other situations in the construction industry in years to come.
According to NBC News, the first ATMA truck is expected to be on Florida streets later this year.
Video below shows a demonstration of the ATMA in action:
As electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular around the world, researchers are trying to find ways to adapt the technology to heavier duty applications. Due to the large size of projects and amount of money in the industry, the mining industry has seen its fair share of technological advancement. Several manufacturers, like Komatsu, have developed and released driverless dump trucks for mining operations in the past few years. A team of companies in Switzerland is now working on a gigantic battery powered dump truck that will be tested for 10 years.
CAT, the name synonymous with heavy construction equipment across the world, has been slowly adding technology to its brand over the past year. Early last year, the company announced it would be releasing a rugged smart phone, which was also the first ever to have a built-in thermal imaging camera. This year, they’re releasing their first step into the world of tablets.
Video feeds on a construction site are not only great for timelapse videos, they can potentially help stop intruders who enter your site.
On August 18th, around 200 new tools were showcased at the annual DeWalt Media Event. This particular event was held in Nashville, Tennessee, where you can’t escape country music no matter how hard you try.
Below are what we thought were the highlights of the event. Let us know what new release you’re most excited about!
Falls from height is one of the leading causes of death among construction workers and ladders are a major contributor to that number. According to the CDC, falls from ladders caused 64 fatalities and 11,500 injuries in the construction industry alone in 2011. There are many things ladder users can do to make their work safer, like setting it at proper angles on level ground, checking for damage, and maintaining 3 points of contact, among others. One technology company is trying to take some of the thinking out of ladder set up.
Almost exactly 2 years ago, we shared details about an autonomous, driverless construction work zone vehicle that would be the first to hit US streets of its kind. That vehicle is gearing up to hit US streets as the Colorado Department of Transportation has teamed up with its developers.
When construction companies initially started to adopt mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones, there was a race between many construction technology companies to be the future leader in the area. As the years rolled on, it became less and less likely that one app was going to be the end-all-be-all, like AutoCAD became in the architectural design world. There’s not one app out there right now that provides every single function that a construction company needs, because each company is very unique. The solution? Integration.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
In March of this year, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would begin taking orders on their Solar Roof Shingle concept. Tesla Solar Roof is a solar power roof system that eliminates the need for bulky solar panels installed over top of traditional roof materials. Instead, the shingles themselves, which come in a variety of different styles, are the solar panels.
At the company’s second quarter earnings report, Tesla announced that the first solar roof installations have been completed.
[guest post] The progress of construction sites is usually captured by taking still photos of different areas that have been subject to change. Documenting a full construction site requires a lot of pictures (usually more than ten per room), and even then not every corner of a room can be captured.