Research project of the TU Dresden

5G will enable the construction site of the future

05. August 2019, 16:55 Uhr   |  Tobias Schlichtmeier

5G will enable the construction site of the future
© Oliver Koch | TU Dresden

In a joint project with more than 20 partners, TUD engineers are building a 5G test site with automated construction machinery, a construction site cloud and intelligent logistics.

A fully networked construction site - that is the goal of the Dresden engineers. Within the next three years they want to build a digital test site. With self-propelled excavators, wireless 5G networks with cloud and intelligent tools.

Engineers from the Technical University of Dresden (TUD) are developing a digital construction site in a joint research project. One goal of the project is to compensate for the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry. In addition to the 20 project partners, Vodafone, Telekom and TU Munich are also involved. The project has a pilot character as it is the first to explore the entire communication path - from construction and process planning to construction site logistics and machinery. To this porpose, the scientists are developing new technologies and testing them in the real construction site environment.

Autonomous excavators

In the thematic focus »Digital mobile machines«, researchers are developing existing machines further so that they can perform their tasks automatically or semi-automatically. The researchers are concentrating primarily on earthmoving machines such as hydraulic excavators. »The big challenge is to cleverly extend manually controllable construction machines with additional electronic controls,« explains Prof. Jürgen Weber of the TUD.

Avoid cable damage with VR glasses

In the »Digital Construction Site« focus, the scientists are developing digital assistance systems. A pair of VR glasses will enable excavator drivers to take a look into the soil of the construction site and thus also at possible supply lines after ground surveying. The development of a digital construction site logistics system is also planned. Here, intelligent control consoles will navigate the wheel loader driver to the correct heap of earth and show him how much material he should handle. »The digital construction site monitors the loading process and warns the machine operator in good time before the permitted axle load of the truck is exceeded,« Weber says.

The engineers of the TU Dresden build the first 5G test site in a joint project. Intelligent construction machines are to be tested here.
© Oliver Koch | TU Dresden

The engineers of the TU Dresden build the first 5G test site in a joint project. Intelligent construction machines are to be tested here.

5G standard required

However, a digital construction site also requires fully networked and wireless communication channels. The researchers are therefore developing a communication module and a construction site cloud in the »Networking and Communication« focus. The cloud handles computing-intensive processes and data management, while the communication module helps ensure that the planning data reaches the machine. 5G alone enables the fast, stable and wireless data transmission required for this. »In the future, server farms will find their way into the construction site containers, in which skilled workers work and live today,« says Weber.

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