Department of Civil Engineering

Automatic Coordination of Construction Actors (ACTOR)

ACTOR is a Finnish R&D project that aims to increase the productivity of construction and decrease its carbon emissions through process automation.
A research robot calls the elevator.
Research robot Spot calling an elevator.
The EU flag next to the words "Funded by the European Union - NextGenerationEU"

Project funding

ACTOR is supported by Business Finland’s Low Carbon Built Environment Program, which receives funding from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

The challenges

Construction is globally a 14 trillion-dollar industry. It faces many challenges that hamper its profitability and sustainability. The problems stem from poor coordination of complex processes performed by scores of participating companies.

 

Productivity

Contrary to other sectors, construction's productivity has stagnated. Research has shown, for example, that construction workers spend 30% or less on value-adding activities on the site.

Risks

On average, construction projects suffer from schedule, budget, and quality risks. Both customers and contractors suffer financially from poor-performing projects.

CO2 emissions

The construction industry accounts for 38% of CO2 emissions. 32% of landfill waste comes from the construction and demolition of buildings, and 13% of products delivered to construction sites are sent directly to the landfill.

Digitalization is still a work in progress

Construction has a lot of potential for modernization and industrialization. Over the last few years, the industry has seen many initiatives and startups that want to change the status quo. Digitalization is the primary trend, but it has led to no noticeable improvements in overall performance. That’s mainly because it has not served the everyday of a construction worker.

ACTOR makes situational awareness a reality

ACTOR’s premise is that real-time situational awareness is the key to solving many construction problems. Situational awareness exists when every participant in a project has a real-time picture of all the tasks, conditions, and resources. A trustworthy situation picture is a prerequisite for effective planning, task management, and logistics.

The amount of data a construction project produces is already immense. A large portion of data management and analysis is manual, making the provision of situational awareness difficult or impossible.

ACTOR envisions a future where the obtaining and distributing of this information is automatic. Every project actor, from designers to field workers, has the correct information at the right time at their disposal in an easy-to-use visual form.

The project researches and develops robotics, sensors, AI, machine learning, extended reality, and standardized data to enable that. The level of automation and sophistication that ACTOR pursues is unique. 

ACTOR's aims

  • Productivity
    • Double the productive time of a construction worker.
  • Output
    • Increase the output of the industry, adding 2–3 billion euro to Finland’s GDP.
  • Emissions
    • Reduce construction material waste and reduce energy consumption significantly.

The ACTOR consortium: Two research and four business partners

Aalto University has researched situational awareness in previous projects and gained invaluable insight into construction productivity. In ACTOR, Aalto leads the research on automated data collection, standardized data representation, improved situational awareness, and the digital twin of buildings and processes.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. has developed Core-Task Analysis, which helps analyze work and workers' information needs. In ACTOR, VTT also studies visual management's spatial computing and user interfaces.

Carinafour has been developing supply chains in the marine and construction segments since 2012. In the project, Carinafour focuses on how the supply chain and construction material information could be collected and provided to the stakeholders involved.

Flow Technologies' goal in ACTOR is to develop the digital twin of construction. It will also create a decision-making model for a residential project and define a way to prioritize tasks for individual workers continuously.

Trimble Solutions Oy focuses on technology to interpret the automatically collected situation picture data and quickly visualize it for decision-making. Trimble develops role- and location-based data consumption with the latest XR technology and on other devices, including Kone elevators.

Kone provides elevator and other technologies that collect construction site data. ACTOR complements Kone's Veturi project.

International collaboration

ACTOR collaborates internationally with companies and universities to ensure that the designed solutions fulfill global needs. The organizations include University of AlbertaTechnion Israel Institute of TechnologyTU DarmstadtUniversity of Huddersfield, and Aston University, and EU projects ASHVIN and BIM2TWIN.

Project facts

Schedule 2022–2023
Budget 3,8 million euro
Work packages Seven

 

News

ACTOR coordinates construction automatically with robots and AI

ACTOR is an R&D project that aims to solve some of construction’s biggest performance challenges.

A man uses a tablet computer at a construction site.
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