Effectiveness analysis from a cognitive perspective for a real-time safety assistance system for mobile crane lifting operations

Yihai Fang, Yong Kwon Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Operating a crane is a sophisticated job that not only requires extensive skills and experience, but more importantly a comprehensive understanding of the conditions of the crane and its surrounding environment throughout the operation. To enhance lift safety, various real-time assistance systems have been introduced to provide operators with critical information such as load moment and proximity to obstructions. However, previous efforts predominantly focused on the technology side, while the measurable impacts of such systems on actual lift performance from an operator cognitive perspective remain unclear. In order to ensure that an assistance system will improve rather than compromise the operator's lifting safety and efficiency performance, this paper introduces a crane lift assistance system designed from a cognitive perspective. To reduce the overall cognitive load of crane operators, the proposed system aims to improve the situation awareness (SA) of the crane operator in two major stages of human cognition process, hazard perception and hazard recognition, through autonomous hazard identification and a real-time visualization user interface (UI). An indirect, objective assessment of the lift performance outcome with respect to efficiency and safety criteria was used to validate the effectiveness of the system in improving the operators' SA. The results from a series of field tests were used to analyze the impact of the level of usage of the system on the lift performance change. Furthermore, the relationship between the individual characteristics of different operators and the system effectiveness was investigated. With the consideration of human factors when introducing new technologies, this research proposes an effectiveness validation approach from a cognitive perspective that can potentially facilitate the adoption of emerging technologies in construction equipment operations and the existing construction workflow in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05016025
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive load
  • Construction materials and methods
  • Crane lifting operation
  • Crane safety
  • Real-time safety assistance
  • Situation awareness
  • Three-dimensional (3D) visualization

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