Low-cost smart windows
Smart windows, varying the amount of light coming through the glass, can now be produced economically
The new AI systems will allow to optimize construction processes, reduce costs and improve safety.
The building industry is undergoing a paradigm shift with the first instances of 3D-printed buildings, the emerging trend of robotics and the optimization in the recycling of construction waste thanks to projects such as HISER. Artificial intelligence, in turn, is playing an increasingly important role in many areas of our lives, whether through voice assistants or image recognition, among many other areas. The building industry is also being shaped by this trend, as shown by ALICE, an artificial intelligence assistant developed by Alice Technologies, a startup from Stanford University (US).
Building a structure such as a skyscraper requires the joint effort of a great number of professionals: draftsmen, architects, crane operators, bricklayers, electricians, lorry drivers and others must work together efficiently to achieve success. On the other hand, construction materials are another complex area, both in terms of suppliers and actual use, as the large number of variables involved can generate thousands of different scenarios when it comes to scheduling a project. The final costs can change substantially depending on the actual organization of all those elements, and that’s where the ALICE software enters the equation.
Starting from an initial construction plan where the early schedule and size of the project are defined by a human scheduler, ALICE uses the inputs to calculate millions of different scenarios that would require decades of work for a person to complete. Following this massive analysis, the number of options is narrowed down to a dozen optimal alternatives that are translated into a 4D model, i.e., a 3D model within its execution deadlines.
In a pilot project carried out by a construction company, the system provided 22 building strategies that included the “floor by floor” or “tower” models among others. According to the builders, the outcome shaved 84 days from the original schedule, reducing it from 540 to 456 days.
Contingencies are one of the laws in life, especially when dealing with complex projects. The advantage of ALICE is that it can process new work in progress variables, delivering optimal scenarios on the fly. Thus, the working schedule can adapt dynamically to the specific requirements of each situation in the project.
McKinsey recently released a study under the title of “Artificial intelligence: Construction technology’s next frontier”, where it analyzed the current scope of AI in the construction sector as well as its growth potential. According to its research, AI still is in a very early stage, although a number of startups involved in the field are expected to bolster its growth. The main areas where AI can make a difference would be the following;
McKinsey also compared building materials and construction to twelve other industries such as health, tourism or automotive and assembly, and found that ten of them were ahead in the implementation of artificial intelligence, so there’s plenty of room for improvement. Having said so, in the next three years AI is expected to grow at a significantly higher pace in all those sectors. The future, as always, will be built brick by brick.
Source: Construction Dive