ITcon Vol. 26, pg. 591-623, http://www.itcon.org/2021/31

A hierarchical machine learning framework for the identification of automated construction

DOI:10.36680/j.itcon.2021.031
submitted:April 2021
revised:June 2021
published:August 2021
editor(s):Robert Amor
authors:Aparna Harichandran, Joint Doctoral Degree Candidate,
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India and
School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Australia
E-mail: aparnaharichandran@gmail.com

Benny Raphael, Professor
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India
E-mail: benny@iitm.ac.in

Abhijit Mukherjee, Professor
School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Australia
E-mail: abhijit.mukherjee@curtin.edu.au
summary:A robust monitoring system is essential for ensuring safety and reliability in automated construction. Activity recognition is one of the critical tasks in automated monitoring. Existing studies in this area have not fully exploited the potential for enhancing the performance of machine learning algorithms using domain knowledge, especially in problem formulation. This paper presents a hierarchical machine learning framework for improving the accuracy of identification of Automated Construction System (ACS) operations. The proposed identification framework arranges the operations to be identified in the form of a hierarchy and uses multiple classifiers that are organized hierarchically for separating the operation classes. It is tested on a laboratory prototype of an ACS, which follows a top-down construction method. The ACS consists of a set of lightweight and portable machinery designed to automate the construction of the structural frame of low-rise buildings . Accelerometers were deployed at critical locations on the structure. The acceleration data collected while operating the equipment were used to identify the operations through machine learning techniques. The performance of the proposed framework is compared with that of the conventional approach for equipment operation identification which involves a flat list of classes to be separated. The performance was comparable at the top level. However, the hierarchical framework outperformed the conventional one when fine levels of operations were identified. The versatility and noise tolerance of the hierarchical framework are also reported. Results demonstrate that the framework is robust, and it is feasible to identify the ACS operations precisely. Although the proposed framework is validated on a full-scale prototype of the ACS, the effects of strong ambient disturbances on actual construction sites have not been evaluated. This study will support the development of an automated monitoring system and assist the main operator to ensure safe operations. The high-level operation details collected for this purpose can also be utilised for project performance assessment and progress monitoring. The potential application of the proposed hierarchical framework in the operation recognition of conventional construction equipment is also outlined.
keywords:Automated construction; Operation identification; Machine learning; Construction monitoring; Accelerometer; Sensor data analysis; Construction equipment
full text: (PDF file, 1.673 MB)
citation:Harichandran A, Raphael B, Mukherjee A (2021). A hierarchical machine learning framework for the identification of automated construction, ITcon Vol. 26, pg. 591-623, https://doi.org/10.36680/j.itcon.2021.031