Key Intelligent Optimization Methods to Practice in Civil Engineering

Working as a civil engineer? Well, this paper is a must to check as it reveals the latest tendencies where to use key intelligent optimization methods during construction works.

Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods have been used in such sectors of civil engineering as construction supervision, hydraulic optimization, building materials, transportation/geotechnical engineering, and the innovative EHS . However, such a multidimensional implementation of AI in this industry wasn’t always like that. Even now, there is quite a small percentage of building companies that can afford using AI. The situation is like that because enterprises have to overcome the following obstacles to use the AI methods in their work.

Facing Challenges to Use AI in Civil Engineering

The pace toward global implementation of AI methods in civil engineering is going to be slow as companies should first collect the info required for the methods to work effectively. The impact of AI relates to possessing the right data. So, the point is that building companies can’t enjoy AI methods without first solving the case as of sustained digitization. That involves investments in high-quality tools for data storage and processing, for instance, advanced analytics platforms and cloud infrastructure. It is clear that only construction giants may afford that.

One more obstacle for the successful use of AI during construction processes is that many of the traditional practices in this industry have remained unchanged for more than a century. For example, pouring concrete or laying the bricks is performed pretty much identical to how it was done forty years ago. That explains the strategy of thinking of around seventy-two percent of building enterprises who love the traditional approach. Such companies don’t hurry to meet AI because they can’t understand the full specter of opportunities AI may provide them with.

However, stakeholders (contractors, service providers, operators, etc.) can’t ignore the influence of AI on the industry anymore. Companies that are applying AI are about fifty percent more likely to get a profit from that. Here, it should be mentioned that AI is not about robots that drive trucks with cement or lay bricks on a construction site.

AI methods mean the implementation of specific algorithms to cope with challenges, improve productivity and efficiency. In general, AI is about saving money and time. So, for those who have no idea where and how AI methods may be applied in civil engineering, they may find 3 directions where AI application would be an ideal solution.

Applying AI to Develop Smart Materials

AI methods are used to design various innovational construction materials with impressive features. A specific AI-based smart system is able to recognize changes in the environment and modify material properties, in particular, their electromagnetic and mechanical response, accordingly. Let’s consider the role of AI for optimizing smart materials in more detail:

· Embedding AI sensors placed inside a certain structure can monitor indicators of damage and stress, such as the ability to move and vibrate. Here, the bonus is reducing costs and optimizing the lifespan of an edifice. Such technology is already being implemented in more than thirty bridges around the globe. This solution belongs to The Key Techniques While Making Construction over Water ;

· Self-repair materials were also created due to applying AI methods. Engineers managed to embed thin tubes with uncured resin into materials. In case damage takes place, the tubes break and expose the resin. The last fills that damage in a matter of seconds! Sounds unbelievable, agree? Thanks to AI, builders may implement such material in inaccessible environments (for instance, underwater);

· Currently, the technology is used in such a sensitive and complex process as a concrete mix design. It is based on the principles of fresh concrete functionality and its required strength. Moreover, while mixing concrete they pay attention to hardened concrete durability that is determined by the features of coarse aggregate, mortar, and the interface. In this case, AI methods help to automatically choose the right texture, shape, strength, and mineralogy characteristics based on the concrete strength level set by construction workers.

With the help of AI, smart materials may perform such functions as monitoring the integrity of offshore oil-drilling towers, bridges, and dams and figure out the trouble areas. This is possible with fiber-optic neural sensors put inside the buildings.

Improving Planning Aspects Regarding Construction Projects

The second direction where AI methods may be used in civil engineering refers to optimizations in project management. AI has its application to develop building strategies ad plans in all stages of a certain solution. Artificial neural networks are implemented by architects when considering actions along with their effects and predictions. This is usually followed by selecting alternative actions to get inserted into a project plan.

Nowadays, construction enterprises utilize AI deep-learning techniques to optimize the level of quality concerning building procedures. How does it occur? Manual drones collect pictures from the construction site. Then, they use specific AI-based software to recognize and analyze those images. Based on the results got, a building team is able to identify risk areas. Moreover, the images are compared against existing schematics to point out all possible design defects.

Further, via reinforcement learning, they use AI-based algorithms to figure out the best procedures to follow. Finally, when carrying out those processes during project scheduling and planning, building enterprises are free to optimize the quality of the project workflow in general.

Construction enterprises may use AI laser-generated pictures to get insight into the progress of a certain stage of an overall design project. AI methods are used to create 3D models that are matched with the original models to identify any possible quality discrepancies. Such an option helps project coordinators to speed up the decision-making process as they get the full picture of what is going on in this very construction stage.

Maintaining Construction Process through Robotic Arms

The third direction where AI would come in handy is the use of machine learning (the subset of AI) to use robotic arms at the construction site.

Civil engineers may coordinate AI simulations on common construction procedures that may teach robotic arms to do support functions. The most exciting is that those robotic simulations may be created to perform any presupposed task. The last doesn’t demand human intelligence interference. The presupposed tasks include:

· Testing for strength;

· Checking impurity state in raw materials;

· Fabrication of materials;

· Routine maintenance.

Additionally, when implementing BIM ( Building Information Modelling ), AI bots may assist civil engineers in supervising a construction project lifecycle. That is followed by providing technical support in all its aspects.

For instance, using input data from all other sources, AI bots (functioning on the basis of the AI algorithms) may control inventory issues to guarantee that there will be no pause in designing an edifice. To succeed in that, AI bots just analyze the input parameters of required execution speed and project timeline preliminary set by civil engineers.

Such highly developed countries as Japan, have already designed their own fleet of robots (robotic arms included) who function via AI algorithms for planned construction sites. Most probably, soon robotic solution will be a must-have to build any object on our planet. It is just a matter of time.