Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is collaborating with its customer Colas, a highway and airport contractor, on a research project that has seen the company develop and test a range of concepts and prototypes in a bid to improve worksite safety.
As part of the ‘Safer@Work’ research project, Volvo CE recently tested a people detection system at two Colas sites: an asphalt plant and a quarry in Switzerland.
The concept uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to alert the operator when a person is detected in the vicinity of the machine. It incorporates different warning systems, both for the operator and for people in the area surrounding the machine.
The prototype is one of three operator assist concepts that Volvo CE has been collaborating on with Colas since 2016. Currently this work is part of a research project to prove the technology is viable for the industry.
Veit Kleeberg, chief project manager for Safer@Work at Volvo CE, said, “We used the ‘Design Thinking’ methodology – which involves putting the user first and finding out their needs before generating ideas – and came up with 27 concepts that could contribute to reducing the number of accidents involving employees and members of the public on construction sites. Together with Colas, we picked the three preferred concepts and we started to design and test them.”
The latest tests in Switzerland marked the third round of testing and demonstrations that Volvo CE has carried out on excavators, wheel loaders and articulated haulers at Colas job sites. The people detection concept was tested on a EW160E excavator and L220H wheel loader.
“The testing was a great success and the operator feedback was very encouraging,” added Kleeberg. “Being able to test the technology in a real-world environment and getting instant customer feedback is invaluable.”