Israeli startup Ception has unveiled an AI-based system that reduces accidents and improves productivity and profitability of heavy equipment at construction sites, mines, quarries, and industrial plants. The system is set to lower operation costs and contribute to sustainability in these demanding work environments.
Equipment such as articulated trucks, haul trucks, loaders, bulldozers, and excavators, is involved in severe accidents on a daily basis. Accidents include collisions, overturning, and falling into chasms, costing lives, and damaging property. Moreover, operations without advanced technological equipment are inefficient, incurring heavy and unnecessary costs, and prolong the time needed to complete projects.
MineCept – full situational awareness
To tackle the heavy equipment challenges, Ception developed MineCept. The system is based on a SaaS business model, which offers the customer a collection of apps via the same hardware kit and supports a wide range of scenarios in the field. The system uses advanced real-time high-definition 3D mapping and precise positioning technology, based on visual feed rather than GPS, to provide full situational awareness of the machine’s surrounding environment by cross-referencing information from different sensors and a range of image processing algorithms and deep learning.
MineCept, which is installed on the heavy vehicles, provides operators, site managers and safety managers real-time information and insights to improve safety and operational efficiency in general.
MineCept includes three parts. The first is a modular hardware kit that is easily installed on heavy equipment and is OEM-agnostic. It includes a compute unit, communications component, and sensors. The basic kit includes cameras with an option of adding Lidar and radar sensors based on the application and the user requirements The second part is an assistance system for the machine’s operator. It includes a display screen installed in the operator’s cabin. This system provides visual and sound alerts, as well as support for different operational tasks. The third part is the site management system, which includes real-time information and insights about what is happening at the site.
MineCept’s management system obtains a comprehensive holistic picture of all the operational and safety parameters and summarizes the hazards (potholes, puddles, rocks, etc.) and events at the site for the manager in an accessible way. Above this level, the artificial intelligence tools provide insights and enable the forecasting of bottlenecks in the different processes and safety failure points before they occur (preventative safety).
For example, if heavy vehicles or a heavy vehicle and a person get too close, an alarm is immediately sent to the operators so they can avoid a collision, or if a heavy equipment operator is momentarily distracted, causing him to go off the road or move in reverse towards a chasm, he will get a life-saving warning.
The system contributes to streamlining operations by supporting diverse apps, such as performance monitoring, comparing planning to execution in the field, measuring the volume of stockpiles, and monitoring cycle times. At the same time, MineCept verifies that the site is operating in compliance with regulatory safety instructions, such as continuous measurement of the height of safety berms.
Ception’s system is used by leading mining and construction companies in various projects and industrial sites in Israel and over the globe. In the mining industry, MineCept is used by ICL Group, one of the world’s leading fertilizers producers, which operates heavy equipment at its phosphate mine in southern Israel. In the field of construction and infrastructure, MineCept was used by Netivei Israel, the national transport infrastructure company, as a part of a project aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of heavy equipment.
Ception has been selected the building materials giant Cemex as one of the top 50 startups in the construction technology sector. At the same time, Ception is collaborating with Cemex’s Israeli subsidiary, Readymix Industries. The startup also won a recent workforce technologies competition, where leading construction companies such as Bouygues, Suffolk and Limak acted as judges, and will represent Israel in the global competition later this year.
The company is in advanced negotiations for collaboration with one of Israel top construction companies. As part of the agreement, the building company will invest in Ception and deploy its systems in the company’s heavy equipment.
Solving acute safety, efficiency, and sustainability problems
Tal Israel, Co-Founder and CEO of Ception, says, “The construction, building materials, mining and quarrying industries are huge markets that suffer from acute safety, efficiency, and sustainability problems and are always looking for innovative solutions. There is currently a gap of technological solutions in this discipline. Some of the solutions are geared towards a high level of automation, but suffer from various barriers, including technological limitations, high prices, and regulatory restrictions. Conversely, solutions that rely on basic technologies do not offer an adequate response and suffer from serious reliability problems.”
Israel concludes: “The automation and Industry 4.0 revolutions have brought immense technological advances in edge computing, sensing technologies, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and other fields. Ception is not waiting for the automation revolution to be complete and is applying these innovative technologies to provide precise and reliable solutions at good prices.”