The future is now for construction projects fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), leading experts said at a conference last month.

AI is ushering in rapid changes in an “exciting way” to help construction personnel more effectively generate schedules, identify potential problems ahead of time, instantly update scenarios as situations changes, and even develop “what-if” scenarios to make “very high-level decisions,” technologist Lubomir Bourdev, CEO Brandpoint, told attendees of the online AI Excellence in Construction conference.

For those still unaware of AI’s potential to positively impact construction projects, Bourdey first offered a brief history lesson of AI’s evolution since 2012 and the advent of pattern recognition, which also allowed for object detection, face recognition, and video classification.

The AI wave has already impacted several industries, he noted, including communications, healthcare, entertainment, transportation, and retail. The construction industry has been a relatively late adopter of the technology, panelists agreed.

But Bourdev and other panelists were bullish on the future growth of AI in construction. Bourdev outlined four areas where he envisions AI having a greater impact on projects:

  • On-site 3D printing. This will offer up cost and time savings, even as it improves safety and overall productivity, he said. 
  • AI-powered material science. AI can contribute to amazing advances, including “self-healing” concrete, superior insulation, and smart windows. 
  • Supervision via drones. AI via drones will improve reach, the ability to conduct targeted inspections, help prevent accidents, and provide early risk detection. 
  • Robots in construction. AI-powered technology here will help increase efficiency, raise the bar on safety, and produce overall higher quality projects. 

VCs Are Onboard

Venture capitalists and others are taking notice in the rise of AI in construction, said Vivin Hegde, Founding Partner, Zacua Ventures. “Most funds are hungry to invest in AI-based solutions during 2024, given the boom of AI-powered technology in 2023,” he told attendees. 

“Overall, investor appetite for driving sustainability in the construction sector remains the most prominent factor” driving interest for VCs, he said.

Suggesting AI is forging a “new era” in the construction industry, Nate Fuller, founder of Placer Solutions, concurs. He told attendees, “I’m sold on the vision” of AI’s increased role in projects.