Video recognition in construction can improve the safety, security and operational excellence of the companies in the industry.
AI is revolutionizing the business world. Video recognition technologies in particular are already proving their worth in many industries. They are also becoming increasingly important in areas that are less cited for innovativeness, yet that are just as promising.
The construction industry is an example. Indeed, this industry is adopting video recognition to monitor operations and develop safety measures on construction sites.
Video recognition in construction
How could we use video recognition on a construction site?
The first step is to place a few cameras around the site and a panoramic one to get a global view of the space. Then equip the cameras with a video recognition system trained to recognize humans, machines, and equipment. This system would allow extracting valuable information for the daily management of the site and its follow-up.
For instance, equipment manufacturer Komatsu has adopted video recognition to monitor its construction sites with the help of NVIDIA technology. They have set up a 3D visualization of construction sites with real-time monitoring of the interaction of people, machines and connected objects to improve site security.
The first advantage of such a system is the increased safety of people on site. Despite the recent drop in workplace accidents, this sector still has a significant, recurring number of accidents. In fact, in 2016, they amounted to 88,273, including 112 deaths. Manual operations and falls are still the most frequent causes of accidents at work. Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is, therefore, an essential issue that construction companies must closely monitor to protect their workers.
Smart cameras can detect when workers do not wear PPE and when there is a dangerous proximity between an employee and a machine. This is what the machine manufacturer Colas has done in partnership with Volvo CR. They have equipped construction sites in Switzerland with a person detection system. Integrated with AI, the technology assists machine operators in their work by alerting them when a person is detected near their machine. In addition, detection algorithms can notify the site manager in real time if a worker does not wear equipment.
The installed cameras can also act as intelligent video surveillance cameras. They can detect intrusions and notify the relevant authorities in real time in case of theft or damage to equipment. There are significant financial gains that may arise from intelligent video surveillance systems. In fact, almost all French departments, as well as construction companies of all sizes, are targeted by criminal acts. And the FBB estimates the cost of vandalism to be at least 1% of the turnover of the construction sector, i.e. more than €1 billion.
Finally, these various applications can be used to measure the “health” of a site, its smooth running, and its long-term progress. Indeed, smart cameras help to know the attendance of the site and quantify its activity, its movement, the number of machines on site, etc.
For operational staff, these indicators allow to monitor and understand the dynamism of each site and increase its productivity.
A cautionary note
Two conditions are essential to ripe maximum benefit from the adoption of AI on construction sites. First, we must guarantee the anonymity of employees. The information collected by smart cameras must be used for the protection and overall monitoring of the site, not for tracking employees. Secondly, it is necessary to scale management by bringing together the different beneficiaries and guarantee a system that shares information with them.
Under these conditions, the construction industry will really exploit and benefit from video recognition. This collaboration between industry and technology is also an additional opportunity for AI actors to prove that the technology is viable on an industrial scale.