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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2021
EquipmentShare Partners with Queen’s University Belfast to Research Heavy Equipment Safety Technology Solutions
COLUMBIA, Mo. — EquipmentShare, a digital and equipment solutions provider serving the construction industry, proudly announces its involvement in a Ph.D. research project with Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. The project will develop data-driven breakthroughs to improve heavy equipment safety and security in construction, as well as an ongoing learning framework for safe autonomous machines. EquipmentShare will offer the project’s Ph.D. student a six-month internship at its headquarters in Columbia, Mo., where the student may take advantage of EquipmentShare’s Robotics Division’s R&D lab and resources.
The project, which begins in October, is funded by EquipmentShare and is currently accepting applications for Ph.D. students through this month. Dr. Pantelis Sopasakis, who has served as a lecturer in robotics at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Queen's University Belfast since 2019, is the project’s supervising professor.
“Autonomous heavy machines and equipment are undoubtedly where the future of the construction industry is headed,” EquipmentShare President and Co-founder Willy Schlacks says. “EquipmentShare has already developed its own autonomous construction technology and with this project, we’ll team up with other forward-thinking individuals to further research technology that will make the industry safer and more secure.”
Construction jobsites are historically dangerous: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2020 the U.S. private construction industry had 1,061 fatal injuries for the year — up five percent from 2018. Solving machine and safety optimization problems will be a determining factor for the development of next-generation applications in construction, including autonomous vehicles and collaborative robots, both of which have the potential to enhance productivity and improve safety on construction sites, the project details state.
“The development of safe and efficient autonomous heavy vehicles is a challenging priority of today's industry,” Dr. Sopasakis says. “Heavy machines operate on jobsites with continuously changing terrains. They perform multiple complex tasks in chaotic environments with many moving parts. It’s crucial to develop resilient, data-driven and adaptive control methodologies to improve overall construction jobsite, facility and personnel safety.”
More than an equipment rental company, EquipmentShare offers a diverse ecosystem of technologies geared toward accelerating productivity in construction. The company’s technology solutions connect data points from various verticals of the jobsite, such as assets, people and materials, and compile the data in one place to help contractors achieve visibility into their projects, gain greater control over moving parts and improve overall safety and security. Recently, EquipmentShare was named Fleet Management Technology Company of the Year by the 2020 AutoTech Breakthrough Awards. EquipmentShare’s fleet management technology empowers mixed fleet managers and contractors with access to real-time fleet data from the road or jobsite.
Headquartered in Columbia, Mo., EquipmentShare is a nationwide construction solutions ecosystem provider that solves industry pain points through smart jobsite technology and equipment rental, retail and service distribution. More than a rental company, EquipmentShare’s cloud platform enables construction and industrial companies to gain a real-time view into the connected jobsite. EquipmentShare’s enterprise suite is OEM-agnostic and can track any piece of equipment, regardless of brand, to help fleet managers monitor assets, prevent theft and machine misuse, track employee hours and shifts, increase machine utilization, streamline maintenance and prevent unplanned downtime. Founded in 2015, EquipmentShare employs nearly 2,000 team members of diverse perspectives that push the boundaries of possibilities to create unparalleled customer value, support their communities and empower construction professionals to work more efficiently. EquipmentShare’s growing presence of 76 locations, which includes equipment and service yards, research and development sites, administrative offices and specialty solutions, serve the rapid demand for the company’s equipment and digital solutions. To learn more about the company, visit equipmentshare.com.
Dr. Pantelis Sopasakis received a Diploma in Chemical Engineering in 2007 and an MSc with honours in Applied Mathematics in 2009 from NTU Athens. In 2012, he defended his Ph.D. thesis titled "Modelling and Control of Biological and Physiological Systems"at NTU Athens. He has held postdoctoral positions at IMT Lucca (Italy), ESAT, KU Leuven (Belgium) and KIOS CoE, University of Cyprus. Since 2019, he has been a lecturer in robotics at the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at Queen's University Belfast and a member of the i-AMS Research Center on intelligent autonomous manufacturing and the Energy, Power and Intelligent Control (EPIC) research cluster. His research focuses on the development of high-performance parallelisable methods and software for numerical optimization and the design of control systems for highly uncertain autonomous systems such as collaborative robots and driverless vehicles.