Enabling the Future of Construction

Programme: Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2018

Course: Project in Stanford ME310 A, B, C

Corporate partner: Volvo Construction Equipment

Challenge: Identify the 'pains of today' in the construction industry and the 'concerns of tomorrow' on a global scale (population increase, automation, climate change, etc…). Develop a solution to the identified pain point that provides immediate resolution and also scales to address the concerns identified in the future.

Solution: Future construction sites will be autonomous and electric. Current site infrastructure is not flexible enough to manage the transition towards this future. We introduce Advance, a versatile system that attends to the various needs of the future construction site. Centered around a primary transport machine, the system is capable of distributing customized modules that enable on-demand energy, dynamic communication networks, and so much more.

Impact: Unlike existing solutions, Advance is a unique platform that enables autonomy in dynamic road construction and quarry sites through modularity. In supporting the infrastructure on sites, it creates the following value for our stakeholders:

  • A customizable platform compatible with future needs
  • On-demand availability in areas where infrastructure is difficult to establish
  • Radically increased on demand machine up-time
  • Reduces exposure of manual labor in hazardous areas

Prototypes: We used an Arduino and 80/20 Aluminum frame to develop scaled down versions of the Advance system components, which were presented at the final exposition. We tested the components together in a system configuration and learned that specific alignment requirements were crucial for ensuring the system would work well together, and spent much of our final design effort finalizing these system interface points. Please refer to our final documentation report for the full details.

Quotes from sponsor/partner: Already during the EXPE, I got a lot of good feedback about the solid engineering coupled with the future vision of the Advance system. Also the obvious applicability at ongoing Volvo CE projects, like the Electric Site Project, had been recognized by the visitors and audiences. The team did a great job in explaining their result with respect to the customer, users and potential further stakeholders, well done!
Martin Frank, Volvo CE Research Engineer

Project team:

  • Sal Perez, Mechanical Engineering M.S. candidate, Class of 2019
  • Chris Perez, Mechanical Engineering M.S. candidate, Class of 2019
  • Elliot Helms, Mechanical Engineering M.S. candidate, Class of 2019
  • Natalia Baraslievska, M.Sc. Industrial Engineering and Management, Class of 2018
  • Jennie Karlsson, M.Sc. Industrial Engineering and Management, Class of 2018
  • Simon Knutsson, M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2018
  • Daniel Larmark, M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2018

More info: