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New Mafic ‘Safeguard’ project to improve safety and productivity in industrial construction workplaces

NEWS: Mafic signs up to SPRINT for second time to support the commercialisation of its new, novel Safeguard technology

With SPRINT funding, Mafic will continue to collaborate with University of Southampton to deploy new wearable technology in industrial environments

Mafic, a leading UK construction technology company, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme for the second time, to support the commercialisation of its new, novel Safeguard technology. Mafic will collaborate with SPRINT partner, the University of Southampton to commercially deploy the new IoT (Internet of Things) systems, improving safety and productivity in traditional industrial construction workplaces.

Safeguard is a wearable device that uses a Global Navigation Satellite System
(GNSS) sensor and captures location data from plant, materials and construction workers to an accuracy of +/-2m. The Safeguard project will use downstream space data, advanced machine learning processes, IoT devices and cloud services to augment and improve the GNSS location accuracy to +/-20cm. This step change in accuracy will allow GNSS to be used in environments not normally considered feasible for satellite navigation systems.

The SPRINT project will further develop the innovative wearable Safeguard devices through implementation with workforces, on vehicles and in materials at key customer sites including Sir Robert McAlpine and Errigal Contracts. The devices will determine position, movement and environmental conditions. Machine learning analysis will allow mapping of the users’ exposure to hazards such as slips, trips and falls, high noise levels or exposure to hand-arm vibration.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

On the previous SPRINT project, Mafic collaborated with the University of Southampton on the development of the new machine learning Safeguard solutions, aimed at enabling the real-time communication and analysis of data from remote locations to improve the productivity and industrial health of workforces. As a result of the first SPRINT project, Mafic’s technology has now been incorporated into wearable devices worn by the workforce as well as positioned on vehicles and materials.

Will Woodhead, Managing Director at Mafic Limited said: “GNSS measurements have an accuracy of 2-4 metres at best so our challenge was to combine GNSS with other sensor technologies to significantly improve accuracy. Our learnings from the first SPRINT project and the collaboration with experts from the University of Southampton have led us to the possibility of achieving this.

“Progress measurement is a major problem on construction sites and with the improved accuracy of information generated by Safeguard, we can provide construction companies with a novel scenario where they can receive reports on a daily basis, enabling them to react flexibly in near-time for project assurance, cost savings and performance efficiencies.”

Dr Srinandan Dasmahapatra from the Vision, Learning and Control Research Group within Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton added: “The team at Mafic are driven, committed and ambitious. The continuity of this second SPRINT project enables us to validate the Mafic technology from a truly industrial perspective, working directly with commercial construction companies.

“Machine Learning techniques are evolving to resolve new technical challenges and with new architectures being introduced in the last six months alone, it’s an exciting time to see if those architectures can be fully utilised. This will enable us to develop a system with longer-term benefits to a range of organisations.”