Artificial intelligence and its continuous development affect all the different sectors of industry. One of the branches that can take advantage of artificial intelligence is the construction industry. The most important subsection of artificial intelligence for the construction sector is actually machine learning: IT systems are able to find solutions for problems by pattern recognition in databases. That implements that the AI system has to be “trained” and needs a lot of data before it can work properly. With the release of ChatGPT and similar models of artificial intelligence, it might also become possible to have intelligent chatbots on construction machines.
What for can artificial intelligence be used on construction machines and what advantages does this bring with it?
Using artificial intelligence on construction machines can optimize work processes and rise efficiency. AI systems can work as virtual assistant and deliver helpful information in real-time to the operator. From monitoring the machine status up to optimizing workflows, artificial intelligence can contribute to rise productivity and reduce waste of time and resources.
One of the main challenges of the construction industry is to minimize machine breakdowns and prevent cost-intensive repair works. Equipping construction machines with sensors, that continuously collect and analyze data can be connected to AI technologies. Thus, potential problems can be detected in an early status and the info can be sent to the operator to avoid breakdowns. That results in minimized downtimes and extended machine lifetime.
Safety – another major priority on construction sites can also be improved using AI. It could for example be used as voice control system in a way that the operator is giving instructions without taking his hands off the machine control sticks or steering wheel. AI can also warn the operator if there are potential dangers or risky situations.
Analyzing big data means that AI can deliver important insights that can help improving planning and decision making. AI can for example use historical data, weather information, project data and other relevant information to give more precise forecasts and recommendations. That helps using resources more efficiently, optimize timetables and leads to better results.
An example is process management: The AI system can identify deviations from the plan and with the information of the digital data management, AI can better forecast the needs for further sections and thus optimize the whole process.
Using artificial intelligence on construction machines offers a lot of potential to change construction industry from the ground. From a higher efficiency over predictive maintenance up to higher safety and facilitated decision-making - there are many advantages.
Up to now, AI is mostly used for analyzing and processing big data amounts with algorithms. The results are used for optimizing, more efficiency and savings in the construction sector. There are already construction machines that can drive (semi) autonomously today. These technologies are constantly developing and are already being used in some areas.
Some construction machines such as autonomous excavators or dozers are able to perform certain pre-programmed tasks autonomously. They can detect obstacles, scan their environment and adjust their movements accordingly to work safely and efficiently. This type of autonomous construction machinery is often used in controlled environments such as mines or construction sites where working conditions are highly predictable.
It remains exciting to see how these technologies will develop further and which innovations the future will bring in this sector.
But of course it is also important not to lose sight of the ethical questions when using AI and we should also keep in mind, that these systems can never replace human mind.