The rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) could mark a pivotal moment in the industry's digital transformation, building on the momentum gained during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from Deloitte. "Construction technology companies are actively exploring generative AI's potential for enhancing efficiencies and are working on solutions to harness this technology to suit their business needs," says the report.19 

Meanwhile, in a recent Deloitte survey, 55% of chief operating officers indicated that identifying the proper use cases was the main barrier to creating business value with AI.20  
"While companies experiment with the practical applications of generative AI, they can continue to accelerate advancements in various other AI and emerging technologies," the report notes, such as drones, autonomous guided vehicles, robotics, BIM, IoT sensors and others deployed to help drive value realization. 

The report says that, with foundational digital technologies already in place, drones and autonomous guided vehicles could be used in a range of scenarios at construction sites, from inspection and worksite monitoring applications to task optimization in areas such as material delivery, surveying, and installations.

“These emerging technologies and their applications can improve profit margins, foster stronger partnerships, help relationships between different stakeholders and functional departments, and improve integrated project delivery through transparent and trusted data-sharing,” Deloitte says. 
Separately, a recent report from Apiko was equally bullish on AI’s future role in construction. “As the AI market is poised to reach $407 billion by 2027, the future of AI in the construction industry looks bright,” the company said. 

Looking ahead, Apiko predicts the adoption of robotics in construction processes will increase. The report said some already existing, commercially available robots include ones that automate bricklaying, measurement tasks, and demolition.  

"AI-driven geospatial analysis, which allows engineers to evaluate spatial relationships between assets precisely, will help allocate resources and assess the environmental impact of projects," Apiko says. 
The report identifies several benefits of AI and automation in construction, including improved safety, enhanced productivity, quality control, predictive analytics and design optimization. 

AI is finding application in the following nine areas:

1. Risk management
2. Project monitoring & control
3. Construction project management
4. Safety & productivity management
5. Plan-build comparison
6. Construction documentation
7. Design optimization
8. Building information modeling (BIM)
9. Internet of Things (IoT)
10. Sustainable construction practices

Apiko believes the future of the AI-driven construction industry holds immense promise for innovation and advancement. The report summarizes: "Companies that implement AI today will be more competitive in the quickly evolving market landscape." 

For the full Deloitte report: 2024 engineering and construction industry outlook | Deloitte Insights

For the full Apiko report: AI in Construction: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024 (