How Construction Sites Are Improved with LiDAR

Robotic ImagingOctober 28, 2022

Construction sites are a dangerous place to work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, the construction sector accounted for 165,300 injuries. Only 6% of American workers are employed in the construction industry. Yet, the construction sector is the leading industry with worker fatalities.

LiDAR provides new opportunities to make the environment safer, with evolving technology and capabilities that were not accessible before. There needs to be greater efforts to protect construction workers. Here’s how LiDAR helps.

How LiDAR Protects Workers:

LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is a surveying technique that employs laser pulses in order to calculate the distance to an object that is frequently concealed behind obstacles. A light-emitting sensor that transmits tens of thousands of laser pulses into the environment makes up the majority of LiDAR systems. With the evolving technology, detailed 3D images can now be crafted of the surrounding environment, even in poor lighting conditions.

After a scan, the data is registered and can be stored either in real-time or aggregated over time. Real-time dataset processing refers to the site information being used instantaneously, on site, in order to raise a warning following a dangerous event.

If the data is aggregated over time, that means the information is used to get measurements over time to better understand the site. So, workers can better understand the site and predict dangerous aspects of the site where dangerous events are likely to occur.

Benefits of LiDAR in Construction:

There are so many benefits to using LiDAR in construction. Due to LiDAR’s ability to capture highly detailed structures, the abundance of data now available to AEC professionals enables them to catch errors or find new design opportunities with ease.

Suggested reading: If you want to learn more about why LiDAR is the most important step to take in any project, check out this article.

1 - Project Simulations

In our previous articles, we’ve touched on the benefits of project simulations. LiDAR can capture and simulate real-time events. It can show how the buildings change or construction phases play out. Dangerous scenarios can also be played out and simulated by project managers. This enables the construction plans to be adjusted, thereby making working conditions more safe.

2 - Object Detection

Fatality rates can be reduced using LiDAR’s object detection features. With lacknig visual or auditory cues, a worker might miss something significant. But LiDAR can detect an obstacle. This application makes it possible for workers to establish safety zones throughout the job site after the initial scans aer complete. Collisions detected by LiDAR can be properly mapped and documented. Everyone is able to stay safe, as these routine scans are completed and the safety zones are re-secured.

3 - Land Surveying

Land surveyors are able to capture accurate point clouds, showing detailed contours and gradients of the site. Necessary calculations can now take place with a higher level of accuracy. Professionals are now able to map difficult terrain covered in vegetation due to LiDAR’s advancements. Advanced LiDAR land surveying can even analyze the soil’s chemical makeup. This gives professionals and construction workers more insight on existing conditions.

4 - Detailed Structural Analysis

LiDAR’s benefits do not have to end after a project is completed. Buildings naturally decay over time. But keeping a record of a building and its structural integrity, one can better analyze how the building performs over time. With a dense point cloud scan, generated using this LiDAR technology, one can get a detailed picture of how the surface is damaged or how the infrastructure aged.

This technology has been incredibly useful when surveying damaged buildings after a hurricane or other natural disasters. The data extracted has protected many construction workers and rescuers in times of horrific events.

To Conclude

With today’s common practices, it is still impossible to eliminate all risk on job sites. These construction sites are inherently hazardous. However, there are helpful applications of LiDAR that could save lives. It is the clear way to a safer future for all. Significant consequences can be significantly decreased.

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