Creating a safe and human-friendly environment is
the mission of a leading manufacturers.
Entanglement injury reduction device
"Smart eye motion" for refuse compactor trucks.
Background of development
Garbage collection work is indispensable for our daily life. Refuse compactor trucks which perform efficient collection work while paying attention to the aspect of hygiene, play a successful role daily all over the city. However, since cases where workers are getting entangled in the compactor still occur today, due to incorrect operation while loading garbage, the installation of safety devices on refuse compactor trucks has been required for some time.Specifically, the measures to overcome the issues and background shown as follows were demanded of manufacturers.
- While society is facing a shortage of labor and skilled people along with the low birth rate and longevity, reduction of accidents which occur during the loading work and improvement in the labor environment are essential for municipal governments and garbage collection contractors.
- An automatic shut-off device for the loading operation using sensors and IC chips has been available. However, since the device was too expensive and the sensors could not make a distinction between the collected garbage and people, the device was not widely used because it slowed down the operating efficiency.
The Special Purpose Truck Division which performs product development based on "safe and human-friendly monozukuri (manufacturing)" as a concept, successfully developed the world's first entanglement injury reduction device "Smart eye motion" for refuse compactor trucks, as a result of taking action in consideration of solving such issues is the mission of a leading manufacturer in Japan.
What is "Smart eye motion"?
This is a safety device which utilizes image recognition technology by AI. The "collected garbage" and "people" are distinguished at high accuracy based on the image taken by the back-eye camera installed on the rear portion of the truck, by making AI learn the features around the head of a human in advance. This device is equipped with a function to automatically stop the loading operation, when the AI determines that there is a risk of a worker being entangled in the refuse compactor truck.
- Detects and follows the head of a human and the items worn of pre-specified colors that enter into the photographing area (= detection area) of the back-eye camera (Figure 1).
- When the loading plate is approached in a position where there is possible entanglement, the AI determines that a human and items worn that are detected by "(1)" have entered into the dangerous area. →Detects a dangerous condition (Figure 2).
- Automatically stops the loading operation.
Comments of Development Site
Special Purpose Truck Division
We had difficulty demonstrating the detection performance beyond a constant level during development, because the refuse compactor trucks are used under various environments, and the image recognition may be influenced by the detection performance depending on the conditions. We obtained support from many people inside and outside the company in order to make the AI learn as many patterns as possible utilizing AI technology, and as a result of repeated trial and error to improve the detection ability, the "Smart eye motion" could be commercialized.
Since there was no experience in developing a product using AI technology for a refuse compactor truck in the past, we hit a wall some times. The development moved forward step-by-step while trying any idea that might solve even the smallest issue, and through repeated trial and error while holding numerous discussions with members, we suddenly came up with solutions and new ideas.
In the future, we are aiming for further improvement in the detection accuracy, by collecting data from many customers that are actually using the device in various situations, and making AI learn that data. We will make every effort to reduce entanglement injuries in the future, so that refuse compactor trucks can be used safely by anyone during garbage collection work.