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A new method for monitoring machinery movement using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system

Sun, S. (2019) A new method for monitoring machinery movement using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system.

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Abstract:Hot Mixed Asphalt (HMA) is one of the most used materials in road construction. To receive a longer lifespan of asphalt and lower maintenance cost, quality control during asphalt paving is crucial. The temperature of the asphalt mixture is considered a key factor that impacts the final performance of the pavement. The temperature of the asphalt mix is changing continuously during the compaction. If the asphalt is not compacted within a suitable temperature window, it will reduce cracking toughness and raise the chances of crack propagation. Researchers are currently using thermal sensors to monitor the temperature both in paving and compaction process. Also, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is used to monitor the movement of road construction equipment (i.e., pavers and rollers). In these systems, the geo-referenced temperature data are displayed to operators, so that they can develop their strategies during the paving process. However, the current monitoring system has several limitations: (1) the system requires a high initial investment, (2) instruments need to be mounted on every machine, setup and adjustment of these instruments are time-consuming, and (3) high density of buildings and tall trees disturb or even block GPS signals in some construction environments. On the other hand, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer a potential solution to the three limitations. UAVs are becoming increasingly more mature and available and they started to be used in the civil engineering industry as a data acquisition platform and an instrument for surveying purposes. This research aims to investigate the applicability of UAV-based monitoring systems for paving operations. To this end, a UAV-based method for monitoring the movement of the paving machinery during road construction is developed. In this method, markers are placed on (1) static known locations on the site, and (2) moving equipment. Computer vision and photogrammetry methods are used to localize moving equipment in each frame of the video based on location of known markers. The performance of the proposed method is tested in several case studies. The UAV based solution is found to be a promising method for tracking road construction machinery. The solution can reduce initial investment and at the same time ensure adequate accuracy of tracking targets. In addition, UAVs allow adding or replacing several components based on demand. For example, onboard computer for real-time data processing and thermal camera for temperature monitoring. Thus, the UAV based solution can be extended to both monitor paving operations and temperature during road construction in the future.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Construction Management and Engineering MSc (60337)
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