Purpose of the research center establishment

KOBELCO Construction Machinery Dream-Driven Co-Creation Research Center is established as a consolidation and development of the industry-academia collaboration between Hiroshima University and KOBELCO Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. In order to change the dream to the driving force for the future, various researches are implemented studying on construction equipment and operators using them for work. Our objectives are "creating inventive, advanced and outstanding research results" by linking specific themes with research seeds, and materializing such results into construction equipment. Through these approaches and achievements, we aspire to solve social issues, contribute to industrial progresses and develop the learning and the education, as well as providing new values brought from the university and the company.

Opening date: April 1st, 2018
Name: KOBELCO Construction Machinery Dream-Driven Co-Creation Research Center

Outline of the Research Theme

The construction equipment enables the same motion as human beings on a much larger scale. Work such as digging holes, carrying luggage, lifting objects, demolition of buildings and cars can be finished by human beings regardless of the time cost. However, using construction equipment like hydraulic excavators can improve the work efficiency.
This research center consists of multiple collaborative research laboratories, collaborative researches and academic instructions. Researches are underway to produce high value-added construction equipment and provide efficient work.

Advanced Control Technology Collaborative Research Laboratory

Currently, most of the construction equipment is manually operated. In order to perform more efficient work, the construction equipment needs to meet the operator's needs by adapting the machine to the worker based on various human conditions, such as sensitivity, skill, and fatigue level. Also, the construction machine must be capable of promoting growth of operators.So far, the work efficiency is obtained by the operators who are adjusting to the construction equipment even though they feel a little different to operate it. However, the number of skilled operators that can adapt to any kind of construction equipment is decreasing year by year. In this research laboratory, based on the skills and fatigue levels, researches themes such as "easy to operate", "hard to feel tired" and "can operate like a skilled operator" are being conducted.


Next Generation Human Interface Collaborative Research Laboratory

In this research laboratory, we are doing researches on the interface, that is, the I/O part, which is the connection of the construction equipment and the operator. Operators of construction equipment need to make instant changes in the operation by receiving visual information and the information including the inclination and the sound of the construction equipment, and recognize and judge such information comprehensively. In addition, complicated operations of levers, pedals and buttons etc. are required at the same time. Therefore, we consider that the performance of the entire equipment including the operator can possibly be improved by feeding back the information about human perception characteristics and making the operation system based on human motion characteristics. Specifically, we are working on themes such as proper feedback information in remote control of excavators using simulators and VR systems.

Data-Driven Smart System Collaborative Research Laboratory

In order to achieve Digital Transformation(DX) and Society 5.0, it is necessary for the construction industry to create new value by utilizing IoT, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Therefore, we are conducting research in the fields of production, construction, and service with the aim of establishing a new work style in the construction industry and realizing a stable supply of high-quality construction equipment.

Production:In a high-mix low-volume production line, the number of operational data is often insufficient for applying Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. In such cases, we are conducting research methods for utilizing operational data to optimize production lines.

Construction:If a single operator can perform construction using multiple remote-controlled construction equipment and automatic construction equipment, it will be possible to improve massively in site productivity. We are conducting research a control system utilizing Digital Twin for construction equipment that can play an active role in such construction.

Service: In order to provide after-sales service, we are conducting research how to detect failure signs in advance by analyzing operational data obtained from construction equipment using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.


Psychologically Adaptive Smart System Collaborative Research Laboratory

In the construction industry, the training and securing of excellent construction machinery operators has become an urgent issue due to the low birthrate and aging population and the need to improve work efficiency. To resolve this issue, improvements in construction sites and the working environment can be mentioned, and it is important to satisfy the Well-Being* of the operators as an aid. In this research laboratory, we research to introduce a theory and a system that can reflect the psychological state of operators to construction sites and construction machinery, using technology that qualitatively and quantitatively grasps such operator's information. We aim to create a work environment where people's minds and construction works can be sustained adaptively and operators can feel the Well-being.

* “Well-being” refers to the goodness of physical and mental condition. The five elements (Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment) make up well-being (Seligman, 2011).