Purdue Develops Technology to Aid Construction Project Managers

October 1, 2015

Technology developed by Purdue University civil engineers could provide a real-time overview and help control cost and time overruns for project managers at construction, mining and agricultural sites.

Phillip Dunston, professor in Purdue's Lyles School of Civil Engineering, and Joseph Louis, a doctoral candidate, have created technology that provides real-time, actionable insights to a project site manager.

Dunston said large project sites in the construction, mining and agricultural sectors involve operations that are equipment-intensive and performed in evolving outdoor environments that are not amenable to traditional control methods.

"Managers have a lack of technology to provide them with real-time operational status updates about the performance on the site because the resources involved are spread across large areas that require complex collaborations," he said. "This problem could lead to ever-decreasing margins and cost and time overruns."

Dunston and Louis have developed technology that combines sensors at the site and on equipment with an operational model of the project site.

"Our technology puts the sensor data into the context of the operations, which allows the manager to monitor progress; make real-time, data-driven operational decisions; and automate the worksite at an operational level," Louis said.

"Traditional software provides managers only a high-level view by specifying what work is to be done, but not how. Our technology allows for the analysis, monitoring and control of operations. By having the required level of detail in the operational model, it then becomes possible to specify and automate how exactly the work gets done."

Dunston and Louis have developed the core technology, which is being tested in laboratory settings. They are seeking to validate the technology in more realistic testing locations.

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization is  currently looking for companies or individuals to license the technology.