Construction firms turn to AI to build foundation for future
The Government has unlocked an £18 million fund for a raft of projects designed to transform the construction industry, including a scheme which will explore how artificial intelligence can better predict and plan building projects and avoid possible delays.
The funding from UK Research & Innovation (UKR&I) is part of the transforming construction challenge, designed to embed new approaches and techniques.
A total of £13.3 million has been awarded to 24 projects, which will see industry collaborate with the research base to innovate.
These include nPlan, Kier and the University of Cambridge, which will use AI and algorithms to better predict, plan and schedule construction projects, and a consortium including housebuilder Barratt
A further £5m is being invested to support research leaders to build teams and take on a research programme within the transforming construction challenge.
Four research projects will share funding, ranging from exploring digitally-designed, 3D-printed concrete components, to assessing the use of robots for both on and off-site construction. Another project will look at integrating voice-activated AI and augmented reality in the assembly of components to speed up construction and increase productivity.
Construction Minister Richard Harrington said: "The use of artificial intelligence, digital techniques and off-site manufacturing help us harness new methods of working and delivers on the government’s Construction Sector Deal.
"These new methods to help the construction industry are a testament to the government’s modern Industrial Strategy’s aims of building a better tomorrow for us all through scientific and technological advances."
UKRI chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: "Technologies being developed in the UK provide a significant opportunity to transform the way we build, such as the use of augmented reality to improve design or robotics to aid complex building assembly.
"Through projects such as these, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund allows us to catalyse innovation across the UK’s construction industry, improving productivity, sustainability and safety."