RWTH Aachen University: RWTH institutes conduct research in the “Off-Highway Twins” project

Three institutes at RWTH Aachen are now researching the “Off-Highway Twins” project. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with almost 100,000 euros as part of the Modernity Fund funding guidelines. The Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Systems, the Institute for Human-Machine Interaction and the Institute for Machine Elements and System Development are involved.

Federal and state authorities provide (geo) data for the use of off-highway vehicles on construction sites, in the forest or in agriculture. The topicality and resolution of the data varies; aerial photographs and terrain models are often outdated or inaccurate. The sensors in off-highway vehicles, on the other hand, continuously collect data.

The project investigates to what extent and with which methods it is possible to evaluate the sensor data in order to synthesize information from it and make it available in cloud databases. For example, it is possible to read out from the movement and drive data of a machine how much material has been moved from one place to another and finally note in the terrain model where a new hole or a pile of earth was created and to what extent. Likewise, a machine can report that a path is difficult to pass even with strong drive power; smaller machines could then use an alternative route. The next step is to determine whether the information gaps can be closed.

The implementation and planning of construction processes should be improved and lead to a reduction in the cost of construction processes. Detailed geospatial data are also the cornerstone for the implementation of autonomous construction processes.