Smart site of Civil Engineering and Development Department
The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is the first trial project for developing a smart low-carbon community on Lantau Island, adopting city concepts that are smart, green and resilient to the environment and climate. Under the project, the Tung Chung East reclamation works are being carried out on schedule. The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has adopted over 30 innovative technologies in various aspects of works, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), satellite navigation and smart safety measures, to usher in smart city development. Staff members from the CEDD will take us to the Innovation Hub of the Tung Chung East reclamation works (InnoTCE) to explain how the project team utilises innovative technologies to enhance site management and operation efficiency as well as to further improve site safety.
The “brain” of the InnoTCE – digitalised management platform
Inside the InnoTCE, there is a room with computer screens of varying sizes, which acts as its “brain” - a digitalised management platform. Mr Yan Chun-ho, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the platform utilises the latest Digital Twin technology to collect and consolidate various kinds of site construction data and records through IoT sensors. Such data and records are then sent to a smart platform adopting Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to simulate the operation of the construction site, creating a real-time “digital twin” of the site in the virtual space. This enables the project team to monitor the entire construction site in real time, allowing quick and accurate decision-making, as well as facilitating day-to-day site management and collaboration in the project team.
Introducing AI technology
Ensuring site safety is a matter of utmost importance. Mr Chung Wing-wah, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the project team is using AI technology to monitor high-risk tasks, so as to enhance safety performance and effectiveness. Among the technologies used are the AI cameras installed on the construction site. Equipped with analytical and machine-learning technologies, the cameras are able to monitor the main vehicular access and some restricted areas with potential risks within the site in a round-the-clock manner. An example is the intelligent vessel intruder warning system designed for offshore works. The system is able to differentiate between construction and non-construction vessels; if the latter are spotted within the warning zone, the system will alert the monitoring staff immediately to request and instruct the vessels to leave.
Real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucks
Furthermore, to manage the environment of the construction site more effectively, the project team also utilises AI cameras to analyse and monitor the cleanliness of construction vehicles leaving the site, reducing the possibility of carrying the mud and debris to the nearby streets by the vehicles. The TCNTE is the first public works project adopting a real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucks. By recording and monitoring the trucks’ locations and travel routes, the system aims to deter illegal dumping of construction waste which is a cause of pollution. Dump trucks are installed with tilting sensors and AI cameras so that if any of them is suspected to be dumping waste at a non-designated location, the system will immediately notify monitoring staff for follow-up.
Real-time monitoring of ground settlement of reclamation
The application of technologies can also save manpower and enhance works efficiency. According to Mr Chung Wing-wah, ground settlement monitoring is an important part of reclamation works. In the past, survey officers had to go to every monitoring point to measure data manually. As reclamation sites covered extensive areas, the manpower and amount of time required were therefore enormous. The Tung Chung East reclamation project has adopted a technology called the Global Navigation Satellite System to monitor the extent of ground settlement of the reclamation in real time by connecting the monitoring points to satellites and making use of cloud computing, which can help enhance construction efficiency and quality.
Frontline workers in support of the use of innovative technologies
Besides, the InnoTCE has set up a number of training zones equipped with a Virtual Reality (VR) system that combines digital imaging with a real-life operation for workers to learn in a safe environment. Frontline worker Mr Cheng Cho-Wai shares with us that, in the past, the design and construction of building projects were illustrated in drawings, which made it very difficult for workers to understand the complicated procedures involved. With VR training, workers feel as if they are in a real work environment and will have a deeper impression of the construction work plan. Also, it will make them more alert to the potential dangers of various construction procedures.
Incubation platform for technologies
Apart from providing digitalisation of site management, the InnoTCE is also an “incubation platform for technologies”. Mr Yan Chun-ho tells us that the project team has been proactively collaborating with the industry, academics, and the scientific research sector to research and develop construction technology that can upgrade engineering techniques and quality. The Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is the latest example and the InnoTCE is the first field trial site for the coating in Hong Kong. Unlike traditional cooling systems, the Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is an energy-free cooling technology that requires no refrigerant. Applying this coating to a building’s roof or external walls can reduce the surface temperature, thereby saving the energy needed for air-conditioning. Meanwhile, the project team is also working with scientific research institutes to test a technology that can promptly dry wetted inert construction waste to facilitate its quicker reuse.
(The video is in Cantonese)
(The video is provided by Development Bureau)