Object Detection and Camera System for Heavy Equipment

The concept of this solution processes data from technology such as lidar, radio frequency (RFID), to produce visual map representation of surroundings which can prevent work zone struck-by injuries by alerting heavy equipment operators. 


An object detection and camera system for heavy equipment is a conceptual engineering control that can prevent work zone struck-by injuries.  This system consists of a monitor display that provides operators a real-time, overhead view of their surroundings.

Volvo Construction Equipment and Carnegie Mellon's Integrated Innovation Institute has partnered to develop a sensor-based object detection and camera system to help address struck-by injuries during construction work involving heavy equipment.

This conceptual system consist of two sensor stacks, a radio frequency identification antenna (RFID), a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser (LiDAR), three cameras with 130-degrees field of view, a dashboard screen panel, and personalized RFID tags for on-site construction personnel.  

The two sensor stacks with an RFID antenna collect, integrate and process data from the LiDAR, cameras and RFID components of the system.  This data is then transferred to a dashboard screen to create a real-time visual representation of all personnel and equipment in the operator's immediate surrouding.  In addition to displaying visual cues, the system also provides auditory warnings by personnel name.

(Photo courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University Integrated Innovation Institute)

Risks Addressed:

Working in road construction sites has an increased risk of work zone struck-by injuries and fatalities.  Based on preliminary CFOI data, there were 116 work-related fatalities at road construction sites in the U.S. in 2014.  In The Construction Chart Book 5th edition published by CPWR, Chapter 46 shows vehicles were the source of more than half of the fatalities at road construction sites - double the proportion of such deaths in the overall construction industry from 2008 - 2010 (graph 46b).  Among fatalities involving vehicles and heavy equipment at road construction sites, most were workers on foot or non-passengers who were struck by vehicles or heavy equipment in the work zone or passing vehicles that entered the work zone.  Applying technology such as commonly adopted vehicle camera and object detection systems to heavy equipment may help improve heavy equipment operator awareness.

How Risks are Reduced:

By installing an object detection and camera system for heavy equipment, work zone struck-by injuries and fatalities may be reduced.  This system can help eliminate blind spots, provide real-time data positioning, alert operators and ground workers, and utilize real-time visualization to reduce false alarms.

While there are no published sampling data on this object detection and camera system for heavy equipment, general consensus indicate camera and object detection systems, widely adapted in commercial automotive applications, can provide awareness of surrounding objects in road environments which can improve safety.

Further, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report has suggested that using sensor-based collision warning systems, an active technology, in conjunction with passive camera systems increases the effectiveness in monitoring work zone blind spots.  Because highway work zones may have frequent nuisance alarms sounding, camera systems provide operators the ability to verify the source of any alarms by checking the video screen.

Additional Considerations:

The system can also emit a perimeter light around the heavy equipment that can serve as a virtual fence reminding bystanders to keep a safe distance.


This solution project is still under research and development through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and Volvo Construction Equipment. For more information and updates, please visit Carnegie Mellon University Integrated Innovation Institute

NIOSH Workplace Solutions Sheet
The National Institute of Safety and Health (NIOSH) has published a series of “Workplace Solutions”, which are easy-to-understand recommendations from NIOSH research results. Related to this Construction Solution, please find more information on: Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths from Backing Construction Vehicles and Equipment at Roadway Construction Worksites

Return on Investment

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