We live above a web of buried utility lines that make modern life possible. Michigan Engineers are developing a revolutionary method for excavator operators to avoid accidentally hitting buried utilities.
Using a fast and highly cost effective computer vision system called Smart Dig, they have made incredible strides in creating a safer, cheaper and more productive construction sites.
Every sixty seconds in the United States an excavator hits a buried utility. Striking a cable, sewer, water, gas or fiber optic line can cause major damage as well as cut communities off from our crucial infrastructure.
In addition, humans are often in the trenches to manually ensure that engineering standards are met. In order to prevent future utility damage and ensure the safety of construction workers, University of Michigan researchers have developed a new way to efficiently operate an excavator using their computer vision system, Smart Dig.
This system works in a completely local context, avoiding the costly and somewhat unreliable nature of state-of-the-art GPS systems. Using several visible markers, off-the-shelf cameras and laptops to communicate between the two, Smart Dig can produce highly accurate projections for excavator operators to follow. It even opens the doors to the possibility of completely autonomous excavation systems.
Filed Under: Infrastructure