August 28, 2023 - This entry summarizes the proposal for Active Safety that our company has presented to the II International Congress of Asphalt 4.0 (ICA 4.0) to be held in Madrid on September 26 and 27. You can attend or watch our presentation on September 27 at 11am, either directely at teh Conference or by internet.
The asphalt industry is very concerned about the problem of accidents in road works. The fact of using heavy machinery makes these jobs high risk.
A detailed analysis leads to highlight, above all, the following causes with a very serious accident rate:
- Machinery movements, rotation or reversing, which prevent the driver from detecting workers around and/or behind.
- Hiring temporary personnel with little experience in this type of work, which means that they are largely unaware of the associated risks.
- Worker’s negligence after multiple work hours
To address these challenges, we propose the use of a new Active Safety system that facilitates the asphalting works coordination to avoid accidents between heavy machinery operators and manual activities of workers on the field.
From the worker's point of view, our system behaves like a new personal protective equipment (PPE), in this case a bracelet, that automatically warns of dangerous proximity between machinery and workers.
Our idea it´s to define safety areas around the vehicles, we can also call them exclusion areas, in order to alert the workers and drivers depending how close the machines are.
After studying different alternatives, we opted for a solution based on active radars to be installed in the asphalt paving machinery, and active bracelets (PPE) that notify workers when the machine is moving or is in critical proximity, so that accidents can be avoided.
Given the scenario of the asphalt works, the design considerations that we have taken into account for our system have been:
- Robust, with automatic start and minimum intervention during the works. The system must work 24 hours outdoors and with extreme temperature ranges (winter and summer time).
- Real-time operation, the detection of workers must be done in less than 1s
- Different ranges of distances programming and high precision, up to 100m range and precision better than 1m, so that the solution can be adapted to all types of machines and jobs
- Alarms for the vehicle and for the workers on foot. In the case of a worker detection in the areas close to the vehicle, both the driver and the workers must be warned by multiple means (light, sound and/or bracelet vibration).
- Communications system to store the events (detections) that occur in the cloud and thus be able to monitor the health and safety (H&S) policies from the central management. This information can also become of great value just in case an accident happens.
- Portable, the radar should be small and can be reused in different vehicles and works. In addition, this would reduce the implementing costs of these solutions for the companies.
To cover all these specs, we have opted for the use of Ultra-Wide-Band (UWB) technologies for our radar solution.
Follow a system scheme
The key elements of our system are:
- A calibrated radar unit for precise distance measurement (<0.5m) in real time (response times <0.5sg)
- Siren and alert light outside and inside the vehicle cabin
- A bracelet (tag) for workers, with a vibration alert if they cross a radius of the preconfigured security zone.
- GPS tracker with 4G modem for communication with remote platform. To avoid problems, the radar is autonomous and works without communications, but also if there is network availability, the detection data is sent to a central platform
- A cloud Platform for remotely recording and exploiting data (web management). Thus, it is possible to monitor the H&S compliance and also have legal support just in case an accident happens.
This solution has been developed based on our own R&D, the equipment is portable (can be moved from machine to machine as needed) and robust (IP66 & IP67) to work in asphalt road works scenarios. Here are some implantation photos
You can learn more about our Active Security solutions on our website, or attend our presentation at ICA 4.0