Object detection software could save lives on construction and work sites around the world. Construction, the trades, and the maintenance industry all face the challenge of protecting workers on the job. Careers in these professions are highly rewarding but tend to come with more risks than some other fields.
With object detection software, team leaders can protect workers from some of the most common dangers on-site.
What Is Object Detection Software?
Object detection is part of the field of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). It combines image recognition and machine learning to autonomously detect what objects are and how close they are to other objects. This technology is already used in many applications, such as the computerized backup cameras found in mid-range and luxury consumer vehicles.
Object detection software programs are created by training a machine learning algorithm to recognize objects in images. This can be a lengthy process, but the results are incredible. Today’s object detection software can detect objects with extremely high accuracy and tell exactly how close an object is. By connecting a computer with this software to cameras, object detection can be applied to live footage.
Improving Visibility and Awareness
One of the most common causes of accidents on job sites is being struck by an object, such as a passing vehicle or a piece of equipment. One of the first steps toward reducing this risk is wearing adequate PPE, including a high-vis vest. Object detection software can help improve drivers’ awareness, though, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of this type of accident.
For example, object detection software can be integrated into site vehicles. This will enable drivers to increase their awareness and visibility of their surroundings, both of which are a challenge in large construction vehicles. This software would alert the driver the moment they come within range of certain objects, preventing accidents.
High-visibility vests and hard hats come in handy with object detection software. Since these particular objects are so easy to identify, image recognition algorithms can be extremely accurate and responsive when trained to spot them. An algorithm could even tell a driver if a nearby worker is wearing earmuffs, which would prevent that worker from hearing an approaching object.
Object detection can also be used to monitor activity around job sites. This can help keep workers out of potentially risky situations. For example, object detection software can track how many people are in a certain zone, ensuring capacity limits aren’t broken.
Object detection can also pick up actions like running, slipping, and falling. This is invaluable for keeping track of potential accidents in real-time, ensuring a swift response. Having object detection software in use may even help enforce safe behavior since workers are aware that a computer is monitoring them.
Safety on Tech-Powered Job Sites
Job sites in numerous industries are becoming increasingly powered by technology. Object detection software is an important part of this widespread digital transformation. Any digital transformation in construction, maintenance, and the trades should start with improving worker safety. While there are many technologies capable of doing that, object detection software stands out.
One of the most important benefits of object detection software is its accessibility. Since the technology has been around longer than some other safety technologies, it is more readily available to teams at any level. Small contractors can easily invest in a smart backup camera for one of their vehicles to instantly improve job site safety. Likewise, a manager for a large job site with numerous vehicles can equip their whole fleet. This is an extremely scalable technology.
In the future, object detection software will only grow in its accuracy. More pre-programmed algorithms and cameras will come to market designed specifically for job site applications. Soon enough, there may even be wearable object detection systems that can be clipped to vests or hard hats.
Next-Gen Safety With Object Detection
Job sites are evolving to improve safety through technology. Advances in image recognition and machine learning have made object detection software one of the best safety technologies available today. The capabilities of object detection will only grow in the years to come. By implementing this highly scalable technology on job sites, team leaders can reduce accident rates and protect workers from major day-to-day risks.
April Miller is a managing editor at ReHack.com who specializes in engineering and construction technology. You can find her work published on sites like Open Data Science and The Society of Women Engineers.