By Parente, M.; Cortez, P.; Gomes Correia, A.
Expert Systems with Applications
Earthworks involve the levelling or shaping of a target area through the moving or processing of the ground surface. Most construction projects require earthworks, which are heavily dependent on mechanical equipment (e.g., excavators, trucks and compactors). Often, earthworks are the most costly and time-consuming component of infrastructure constructions (e.g., road, railway and airports) and current pressure for higher productivity and safety highlights the need to optimize earthworks, which is a nontrivial task. Most previous attempts at tackling this problem focus on single-objective optimization of partial processes or aspects of earthworks, overlooking the advantages of a multi-objective and global optimization. This work describes a novel optimization system based on an evolutionary multi-objective approach, capable of globally optimizing several objectives simultaneously and dynamically. The proposed system views an earthwork construction as a production line, where the goal is to optimize resources under two crucial criteria (costs and duration) and focus the evolutionary search (non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm-II) on compaction allocation, using linear programming to distribute the remaining equipment (e.g., excavators). Several experiments were held using real-world data from a Portuguese construction site, showing that the proposed system is quite competitive when compared with current manual earthwork equipment allocation.