- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 29 Mar 2022
Connected and autonomous plant CAP
Such technologies as the internet of things (IOT), autonomous vehicles (AV), automated guided vehicles (AGV), autonomous mobile robots (AMR), global positioning systems (GPS), 5G communications, artificial intelligence (AI), long range wide area networks (LoRaWAN), low power wide area networks (LPWAN), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drone technology among others. The offer is initially the ability to manage construction sites and build buildings remotely, something that has shown higher interest level in light of the Covid pandemic and subsequent lock-downs. The further promise is that of true autonomy, where plant becomes not only remotely controlled but self-controlling, self-managing and self-learning.
- Round-the-clock working.
- Reducing project length.
- Reduced incidents on site.
- Reduced disruption.
- Improved efficiency.
- Improved productivity.
- Financial savings
- Legislation and regulation.
- Permits and permissions.
- Standardisation of equipment.
- Education and training.
- Contractual incentives.
- Plant wide connectivity issues.
- The need for physical collaboration.
One example of such high levels of plant automation and connectivity is the Rio Tinto Iron Ore business in Australia. Here autonomous trucks, trains, drills, charge trucks and robotic processing are operated through centres and monitored using drones.
This business operates the world’s first fully autonomous, heavy-haul long-distance railway system – AutoHaul™ – which has so far travelled more than 7 million kilometres using remotely operated land rovers and drones to do risky jobs and keep staff safe, such as checking high walls in open pits and parts inside big machinery. Further information about the initiative can be found on the company website https://www.riotinto.com/en/about/innovation/automation.
In response to the ongoing interest in CAP, in 2020 Highways England and the Transport Research Foundation (TRF) produced the guidance "Connected and Autonomous Plant : Roadmap to 2035" as a tool for stakeholders to support their decisions about planning, strategy, and investment. It can be downloaded here
In 2021 National Highways, produced a report 'Digital roads safer construction and operations - Faster delivery - Better customer experience' along with a second roadmap. These can also be dowloaded here.
In March 2022 National Highways, announced a common language and framework to enable connected and autonomous plant to be specified and deployed on all construction schemes. Clients can communicate clear expectations to suppliers, and manufacturers can describe the capability of their products using the same language. This CAP system will score machinery according to its level of connectedness (construction plant that is connected to its environment through sensors or wireless transfer of data to a remote operator) and the level of automation in movement and operation, and will allow plant specifiers and users to compare different types of machinery to suit different tasks.
- Internet of things IoT.
- Autonomous vehicles.
- Building networks.
- Augmented reality in construction.
- Construction innovation.
- Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator DCIA.
- Engineering in the 21st century.
- Internet of things.
- The impact of artificial intelligence on built environment.
- The rise of 5G in buildings.
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