Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technological capability can enable new opportunities and help achieve business goals in the construction space. Armed with complex algorithms and features that allow machines to display their own type of understanding and problem solving, AI has the potential to support the construction industry to cross new frontiers. AI will push innovation to new levels, and what construction processes may be made possible through AI’s continued evolution in the smart building era.
The roles of artificial intelligence
In the construction sector, AI is most often used across four main areas. These stages cover planning and design, administrative management, construction methodology, and post-construction.
Planning with equipment
Construction plans can be created quickly by implementing artificial intelligence. Autonomous equipment is considered to be a form of artificial intelligence as it is aware of its surroundings. It is also capable of navigation without human input, meaning it can work alone without an operator or driver. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create a multitude of planning assists, such as 3D maps, blueprints and construction plans.
Artificial intelligence can also be applied once construction has moved past the planning stages and the actual building process begins. Various programs and software can be used to manage projects and control specific tasks within a project. For example, workers can input sick days or sudden departures. Vacancies for job posts can also be entered. With this information gathered, the system can build a database and use that knowledge to adapt the projects as needed. The artificial intelligence of the system will understand whether or not a task needs to be moved and reassigned, such as when a worker if off sick. Best of all the software will do this of its own accord.
With a wealth of information gathered and stored in its database knowledge, artificial intelligence can support engineers by informing them of how projects should be completed. The software can not only inform a process, but suggest processes based off its understanding of previous data of similar projects. For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for the best method to construct the bridge. It would base this answer on past projects from the last 50 years of work, as well as cross referencing with pre-existing blueprints and maps for the design and implementation stages of the project. By having this information to hand, as well as having it cross-checked in real time against previously gathered information, engineers can make crucial decisions based on the evidence that they may not have had previously at their disposal.
Post – construction
Be it a commercial or domestic project, after it has been completed, artificial intelligence is frequently integrated into the live structure in the form of various software and hardware. Back in 2016, the Wynn hotel chain declared that it would be installing Amazing Echo software in to each one of its rooms in its Las Vegas hotel by the end of 2017. These devices can be used from the comfort of the room to control various aspects such as lighting, temperature, and any kind of audio-visual equipment contained in the room. These systems can also be installed in a domestic setting; with such artificial intelligence systems already on the rise within homes.
The support artificial intelligence brings in the construction industry
The importance of information
It is important to hold as much information as you can about a project, including management decisions and this is easier to do with the help of building information modelling (BIM).
Conversational features can be added with the use of virtual assistants (VAs) that will also provide a person with information. By combining VAs alongside NFC (near-field communication), VAs can give additional information to the building itself in real-time from various sensors in the building. For example, if there were structural problems with a building, then VAs could inform engineers specifically where the problem was and how it can be fixed.
VAs, AIs and building design software can help make savings in the construction sector, whilst keeping up the same standard of work. As the future of AI becomes more of a reality within construction, only time will tell how reliant upon intelligent machines we will have to be in order to construct innovative building designs.