Visible to the public CPS: Synergy: Autonomous Vision-based Construction Project Monitoring

This Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) project supports research to enable the automated monitoring of building and infrastructure construction projects. The purpose of construction monitoring is to provide developers, contractors, subcontractors, and tradesmen with the information they need to easily and quickly make project control decisions. These decisions have a direct impact on the overall efficiency of a construction project. Given that construction is a $800 billion industry, gains in efficiency could lead to enormous cost savings, benefiting both the U.S. economy and society. In particular, both construction cost and delivery time could be significantly reduced by automated tools to assess progress towards completion (progress monitoring) and how construction resources are being utilized (activity monitoring). These tools will be provided by advances in the disciplines of computer vision, robotics, and construction management. The interdisciplinary nature of this project will create synergy among these disciplines and will positively influence engineering education. Partnerships with industry will also ensure that these advances have a positive impact on construction practice. The process of construction monitoring involves data collection, analysis, and reporting. Research will address the existing scientific challenges to automating these three activities. Data collection will be automated by recording video with aerial robots and a network of cameras. Key research objectives are to derive planning algorithms that guarantee complete coverage of a construction site and to derive vision-based control algorithms that enable robust placement and retrieval of cameras. Analysis will be automated with a digital building information model with respect to which construction resources can be tracked. Key research objectives are to improve the efficiency and reliability of image-based reconstruction, to recognize material properties as well as geometry, to establish a formal language for representing construction activities, and to extend a parts-based approach for automated activity recognition. Reporting will be automated with a ubiquitous display of the digital building information model. Key research objectives are to formalize a constraint construction ontology with associated classification mechanisms and allow for systematic earned value analysis of construction progress. Experimental validation will focus on monitoring construction of substructure and superstructure skeletal elements in buildings and infrastructure systems as well as the associated earth-moving, concrete placement, and steel erection activities that are common in construction projects.

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CPS: Synergy: Autonomous Vision-based Construction Project Monitoring