CPS/Synergy/Collaborative Research: Safe and Efficient Cyber-Physical Operation System for Construction Equipment

Project: Research project

Project Details


Equipment operation represents one of the most dangerous tasks on a construction sites and accidents related to such operation often result in death and property damage on the construction site and the surrounding area. Such accidents can also cause considerable delays and disruption, and negatively impact the efficiency of operations. This award will conduct research to improve the safety and efficiency of cranes by integrating advances in robotics, computer vision, and construction management. It will create tools for quick and easy planning of crane operations and incorporate them into a safe and efficient system that can monitor a crane's environment and provide control feedback to the crane and the operator. Resulting gains in safety and efficiency wil reduce fatal and non-fatal crane accidents. Partnerships with industry will also ensure that these advances have a positive impact on construction practice, and can be extended broadly to smart infrastructure, intelligent manufacturing, surveillance, traffic monitoring, and other application areas. The research will involve undergraduates and includes outreach to K-12 students.

The work is driven by the hypothesis that the monitoring and control of cranes can be performed autonomously using robotics and computer vision algorithms, and that detailed and continuous monitoring and control feedback can lead to improved planning and simulation of equipment operations. It will particularly focus on developing methods for (a) planning construction operations while accounting for safety hazards through simulation; (b) estimating and providing analytics on the state of the equipment; (c) monitoring equipment surrounding the crane operating environment, including detection of safety hazards, and proximity analysis to dynamic resources including materials, equipment, and workers; (d) controlling crane stability in real-time; and (e) providing feedback to the user and equipment operators in a 'transparent cockpit' using visual and haptic cues. It will address the underlying research challenges by improving the efficiency and reliability of planning through failure effects analysis and creating methods for contact state estimation and equilibrium analysis; improving monitoring through model-driven and real-time 3D reconstruction techniques, context-driven object recognition, and forecasting motion trajectories of objects; enhancing reliability of control through dynamic crane models, measures of instability, and algorithms for finding optimal controls; and, finally, improving efficiency of feedback loops through methods for providing visual and haptic cues.

Effective start/end date1/1/164/30/17


  • National Science Foundation: $325,000.00


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