Software that uses artificial intelligence to help spot health and safety breaches on site is being trialled by a number of contractors including Skanska, delegates at the Autodesk University conference in London heard last week.
Josh Kanner, founder of US-based Smartvid.io, said that by analysing pictures and video from projects companies could search for poor practice in a fraction of the time it would take if done manually.
He said that in today’s construction there was on average 50GB of data generated per project in terms of pictures and video, most of which wasn’t really used for very much apart from marketing. “We want to unlock that potential,” he said.
Kanner explained that an explosion in data generation and collection which computers could “learn” from was helping to advance artificial intelligence for both consumers and businesses.
The software being developed by Smartvid.io is akin to the software on smart phones which allows users to search for a picture that had not been catalogued and named, by typing in something from the picture – like dog or car.
Smartvid.io automatically tags files showing people, hardhats, ladders, and other things relevant to safety. It is then easy to search across projects for relevant tags to review already-curated photos and videos and marks any potential risks.
Pictures can be uploaded from any device or source and there is auto-sync with software such as Procore, BIM 360 Field and Egnyte.
The philosophy behind the new product is to supplement the work of the site safety team – not replace it. Says the company: “Safety teams are spread too thin to be proactive on all sites and it’s not uncommon to have one safety manager on 5-10 active projects.”
Kanner said the new technology is being trialled by Skanska in the US.
Oliver Smith, VDC director in the Innovative Construction Solutions group at Skanska USA said: “Construction jobs provide many unique challenges on a daily basis. The implementation of drone technology and other data capturing technologies can provide enhanced solutions to the areas of safety, quality control, logistics and planning, visual communication, and security to name a few.
“We’re excited to work with Smartvid.io to add valuable analysis to the ever-increasing amounts of photo and video data we’re collecting via these methods.”
UK engineer Arup has been using Smartvid.io to spot defects in infrastructure. Arup regularly conducts tunnel inspections as part of its global infrastructure practice and in 2016, the Arup team was looking for tools to improve the inspection process and ultimately, boost the ability to quantify infrastructure data for defects like cracks in tunnel walls.
By partnering with Smartvid.io, Arup was able to leverage the power of computer vision to create quantitative measures of tunnel health that proved more comprehensive and accurate than human experts’ reports.
Based on these results, the Arup team is now offering computer vision-based analysis to clients as part of its infrastructure inspection programme.
Kanner said Smartvid.io was also developing an intelligent “dashboard” tool to be used by senior people in construction both on site and in the board room called Project IQ which would flag up project risks down the supply chain.