Usability assessment of drone technology... [paper 2012/12]
ITcon Vol. 17, pg. 194-212, http://www.itcon.org/2012/12
Usability assessment of drone technology as safety inspection tools
Javier Irizarry, Assistant Professor,
SUMMARY:The construction industry lags behind many others in the rate of adoption of cutting edge technologies. In the area of safety management this is more so. Many advances in information technology could provide great benefits to this important aspect of construction operations. Innovative use of these tools could result in safer jobsites. This paper discusses initial application of drone technology in the construction industry. In this study, a small-scale aerial drone was used as a tool for exploring potential benefits to safety managers within the construction jobsite. This drone is an aerial quadricopter that can be piloted remotely using a smart phone, tablet device or a computer. Since the drone is equipped with video cameras, it can provide safety managers with fast access to images as well as real time videos from a range of locations around the jobsite. An expert analysis (heuristic evaluation) as well as a user participation analysis were performed on said quadricopter to determine the features of an ideal safety inspection drone. The heuristic evaluation uncovered some of the user interface problems of the drone interface considering the context of the safety inspection. The user participation evaluation was performed following a simulated task of counting the number of hardhats viewed through the display of a mobile device in the controlled environment of the lab. Considering the task and the controlled variables, this experimental approach revealed that using the drone together with a large-size interface (e.g. iPad) would be as accurate as having the safety manager with plain view of the jobsite. The results of these two evaluations together with previous experience of the authors in the area of safety inspection and drone technology led to recommendations for the required features of an Ideal Safety Inspection Drone. Autonomous navigation, vocal interaction, high-resolution cameras, and collaborative user-interface environment are some examples of those features. This innovative application of the aerial drone has the potential to improve construction practices and in this case facilitate jobsite safety inspections.
KEYWORDS: drone, safety inspection, usability evaluation
FULL TEXT: file.pdf (1,069,760 bytes)
Javier Irizarry, Masoud Gheisari, Bruce N. Walker (2012) Usability assessment of drone technology as safety inspection tools, ITcon Vol. 17, pg. 194-212, http://www.itcon.org/2012/12