Artificial intelligence is now starting to grow and move into unlikely industries. First, it was believed that it would mostly be used in computing devices that we use every day, but now it’s gradually becoming clearer that AI will affect many more industries, including construction.
The concept of AI confused the construction industry because they’re of the stern belief that designing and building structures is the job of humans. However, with some buildings being more modular using eco-friendly building block materials, it becomes more likely that AI could design a suitable structure and robotics could be used to physically construct it. This is not so different to factories using more and more automation to assemble or pack finished products ready for shipment with humans performing final QC checks and dealing with any manual corrections or fixes required.
Here are four ways that artificial intelligence will be impactful on the construction industry.
1. Big Data and AI Can Make Life Easier
While solutions that need open-ended, flexible approaches or client relations require humans, AI is useful for other tasks. The automated translation of documents and blueprints, taking care of repetitive tasks, and translating an audio message with technical jargon relating to the construction industry into a clear written message are all valuable to decision makers.
With the advent of big data, number crunching (or design crunching in some cases) can be utilized. For instance, finding designs that work in a small space can be searched for and located quickly. Many older architectural designs aren’t online or scanned into a system and take an excess amount of time to find and reference manually. By making it digital as big data, it becomes analyzable and far more useful.
When a chosen building material is not available in sufficient quantity, the AI can search for a previously used alternative material that will be a suitable replacement based on past projects that ran into the same difficulty. Also, the AI can draft emails to suppliers to check stock levels where numbers aren’t current or accessible directly.
2. Reporting with Intelligent Alerts
For foremen trying to juggle a large-scale project, controlling everything is like trying to keep five plates spinning at the same time and not dropping any. They have so many different aspects to manage that they rely on software to keep track of every issue.
Using reporting software to keep track of issues, they can update the field report either using the spoken word or by typing into their phone. Any problems or new tasks added to a job can be entered to keep accessible information close to real-time.
With AI working in the background, keyword phrases that matter to people who work as a project manager or perhaps a safety officer receive alerts based on the latest information entered into the system. This way, even if the foreman forgets to copy in the appropriate person, the AI has their back. This avoids delays on a project due to communication that fell down. Also, anyone not on the job site at the time can still receive push notifications which allows them to stay updated.
3. Better Planning for Districts or New Cities
The use of AI with city planning is a work in progress. If you think of it like a cross between a smart home and a city, then you begin to get the right idea.
The use of technology and AI through sensors and triggered responses is advancing every few months with new capabilities. How buildings are designed in a new district or city is exciting for large-scale architects and the builders who turn it into reality.
If you’re interested in the use of computer engineering including AI, robotics and other technologies, then you might consider studying for an online computer engineering degree. This covers all of these emerging technologies that are leading the way in optimizing how work gets done.
Along with technology, eco-friendly features are now regularly incorporated to lower energy usage such as street lights that sense motion, and turning the lights back on for public walkways. This saves cities money by only lighting footpaths when they are in use.
4. Surveying in New Ways
An aerial survey using a drone is an excellent way to see the whole site from above. Not only does it provide a big picture overview of the complete land and any obstacles to be aware of, but it also allows active monitoring. AI can also understand what’s on the screen and provide alerts where appropriate.
Scheduled flights by a specialist drone piloting company or an on-site team flying their own drone and uploading imagery for managers to review is useful as a project develops. Being able to see how far a building has progressed with your own eyes rather than reading a written report or seeing a couple of still images is far more useful.
Road infrastructure takes copious amounts of time to survey. Companies like Roadbotics make use of digital cameras mounted to the front windshield to record video of the road conditions to speed things up.
Cities can then use software that utilizes artificial intelligence to review the video and highlight areas where poor road quality was detected. This saves hours of painstakingly going through video recordings to spot problems. Managers can then direct roadworks to the roads that either are in the worst condition or actively balance present road condition with the frequency of use for each road to make a smart decision. While AI is coming into the construction industry in a big way, only about a third of companies currently make use of it. This is likely to grow as more businesses realize the benefits of embracing AI for its benefits. Rather than taking jobs way, it’s far more likely to remove mundane tasks and improve how projects are planned and executed instead. This is good news for people who are willing to embrace the change that is to come for most construction firms.