You probably got a glimpse of it at ConExpo 2020. Now it’s a reality. Komatsu just announced the availability of its Smart Construction Dashboard to enable the digital transformation of customer’s jobsites.
The dashboard combines data from multiple sources to create a complete picture of the work being done on an earthmoving site. It is in essence a mapping tool that uses drone and GPS-enabled machine data feeds to measure cut/fills, quantities and productivity and show you these results in 3D, in near real time.
With the dashboard, you can confirm that your pre-bid topographical map is correct, track jobsite progress, document site conditions and evidence for change orders, and measure stockpile quantities. A playback feature in the timeline function lets you examine the work done in previous days or weeks. Whole-site visuals, cross-sections and individual measurements are also available through the dashboard’s tools.
“In a typical scenario, they fly the drone in the morning and come back to the office to upload the data into Dashboard,” says Yoetzin Diaz, Smart Construction solutions manager at Komatsu. “Once they have their drone flight data, they can start creating measurements, whether that is the stockpile from yesterday, or a cut-fill map of the entire jobsite.”
Diaz, who worked for a general contractor before coming to Komatsu, says contractors often don’t have the software to gauge daily and weekly production progress. With the Komatsu Smart Construction Dashboard, they can determine productivity and make decisions for the further deployment of operators, trucks and machines in a matter of minutes.
“I see a lot of contractors taking pictures and tiling them to get the big picture, and that takes a long time. It’s a lot of work; it’s not very efficient even after you get all the pictures. With a drone and the Smart Construction Dashboard, you could have that in an hour or less. It’s accessible, convenient and collaborative,” she says.
The dashboard can be used in all phases of construction: pre-planning, tracking progress or even after construction. “When your project is done, you can go back and look at all the work that happened and use that as your as-builts to submit for payment. So you have a one-stop shop for all of this.”
Because the information is digital and web based, it can be shared with subcontractors, general contractors or project owners who also need to see how the job is progressing, she says.
The Smart Construction Dashboard is powered by Cesium, a platform used to visualize, analyze and share 3D data. Cesium’s 3D visualization engine combines video game computer-graphics technology with GPS accuracy that ties data to its precise location on the globe. Komatsu’s system for the dashboard uses DJI drones, but drones from other manufacturers will work as long as they are equipped for photogrammetry and have the appropriate software and file format, says Diaz.
When it was introduced at ConExpo, Dashboard and Drone were just two of 11 Smart Construction tools that Komatsu showcased. And while the Smart Construction Dashboard today is used as a mapping and productivity tracking tool, eventually other Komatsu Smart Construction features may be added to or integrated with it, says Diaz.
For more on the full suite of Komatsu Smart Construction tools, see our video from Komatsu at ConExpo 2020 here.