Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2016

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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36 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2016 LAND AUTOMATED MACHINE GUIDANCE "Almost any piece of heavy construction equipment can be automated, and in the long run, that's what we expect," said Singh, who also directs ODOT's engineering automation program. "When a road wears or fails sooner than expected, our studies have shown that 70 percent of the reason for that failure was workmanship," Singh said. "It's not material, as in you got bad concrete or gravel or asphalt, but workmanship—maybe the material was laid down too thin. With automated machine guidance, you can build better roads, as well as curbs, sidewalks, walls and traffic islands. If you want a 6-inch-thick slab of concrete, you get it." In the early days of AMG, the only construc- tion machine that might receive it was the motor grader, which uses a long blade to cut, spread and level material, "but over time, more and more construction machines have gotten automated," Singh said. "Let's say you want a concrete roadbed for a section of freeway," Singh said. "All in all, concrete paving can get to within probably 2 to 3 millimeters of vertical accuracy. You'll have a milling operation grinding up the old road, picking up material and putting it away in a dump truck and hauling it off. That can be automated; can be controlled by a total sta- tion or GPS. Then maybe behind it you'll have a concrete paving operation. That can be one big machine laying down a concrete roadbed maybe 10 or 12 inches thick, and that's got peo- ple on it, but they're managing the computers, not actually driving the machine. A few feet behind that machine you'll have another one finishing that rough concrete slab, and that will be controlled by total stations or GPS." AMG is now dramatically improving con- struction projects in Oregon. "One contrac- tor, K&E Excavating, has invested heavily in AMG," Singh said. "In 2010, they were only getting a few projects from ODOT, but now they're getting almost every project there is because they can get their bids lower. They're coming up with bids lower than our engi- neers' estimates." Photos courtesy of Ron Singh and Aibotix Left: Two men work with a robotic total station-controlled asphalt paving machine. Right top and bottom: A GPS-equipped motor grader builds the subgrade, the lowest surface of a road.

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