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Artificial Intelligence: construction technology's next frontier

Artificial Intelligence in construction market is expected to reach 4.51 billion in next 5 years. Artificial Intelligence sees machines exhibit their own ‘intelligence’ by using algorithms to solve problems based on inputted data.

By 2035, AI technologies have the potential to increase productivity by 40% and economic growth by 1.7% across 16 industries including construction as well as improved efficiencies, it can mean advances in health and safety, as robots and technology can be used to assess sites and complete jobs that may be too dangerous for humans.

Here are some of the important areas where AI has shown its significance in E&C industry, starting with planning. When the construction process begins, plans must be made and this is where AI is first introduced. Autonomous equipment considered as AI is aware of its surroundings and is capable of navigation without human input. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create 3D maps, blueprints and construction plans.

Construction companies also use AI drones to scan and map the terrain of building sites, doing in 15 minutes a job that takes days for humans to complete, Drones give a bird's eye view of the construction vehicles during the project, providing information to possibly create self-guided equipment in the future.

AI in construction helps risk mitigation, things like worker injury prevention and predictive equipment maintenance. For example, artificial intelligence can be combined with the internet of things sensors, which monitor all onboard systems on a fleet of construction vehicles. The sensors ensure everything works within the range of normal and healthy operation. They automatically alert supervisors of potential concerns before they become major problems that could sideline a piece of equipment, costing the company money and time.

The shrinking workforce and ongoing talent crisis represent a real threat for construction, so retaining talent is more important than ever. Using gathered data and machine learning algorithms, AI can draw all kinds of inferences about an existing workforce or a pool of potential hires. The longer an artificial intelligence system gathers data, the more effective it becomes. Companies being able to make data-driven hiring decisions will help ensure they’re attracting the best talent and ascertain their employees are happy and engaged.

AI also helps in construction process orchestration. In huge companies, it is quite challenging to track the process from the very beginning. With AI-powered applications, task scheduling and reallocation can be managed. A good example is a smart schedule, which can help a manager or business owner plan workload better to avoid any possible delays–as it tracks any events that can impact the deadlines. If a manager suddenly gets sick or takes a vacation, the smart schedule scans the workloads of other employees, which have appropriate skills and reallocates the most critical tasks.

AI is also good for communication, as this type of system can help direct engineers with how to carry out specific projects and better their performance. For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for how the bridge should be constructed.

Indeed, early movers will set the direction of the industry and reap both short- and long-term benefits. Now is the time for owners and firms to act and secure their places at the vanguard of pulling AI applications and techniques into the sector.

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