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Hello, everyone. Time for our weekly roundup of articles at the intersection of BIM; artificial intelligence; and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.  Here goes:

Together with Bentley Systems, Dodge Data and Analytics released their inaugural "SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancements Series." The brief encourages the broader adoption of BIM technologies, outlining the benefits of BIM to different parts of the design and construction process (e.g., architects, engineers, contractors). It further details the evolution of BIM, noting, "Enough BIM projects have been completed in recent years for the industry to be able to consistently measure the positive impact of model-based processes on key project outcomes, as well as to determine what factors contribute to and impede these positive impacts."

Enter Building Conversation. Founders George Thrush and Terrence Masson are using augmented and virtual reality to give a realistic vision of an end result at the outset of a project. The initial idea came when Thrush took note of the enormous communication gap that exists in public projects in cities. But when he and Masson began amassing the tools and knowledge to make Building Conversation a reality, they discovered that their process could be applied to the AEC world in general: "With Building Conversation's software, clients can experience what it would be like to be in their finished house; they will see the views from their windows and get an idea of how they will experience the space." Likewise, the software can be used throughout the execution of a project, allowing a contractor or subcontractor to compare the "finished" product with the work-in-progress and fix inconsistencies before they become costly rebuilds.

The recent collaboration between iSqFt and Assemble Systems tackles a similar need for better communication in the pre-construction phase. The two companies have teamed up in an effort to make BIM more accessible in the bidding stages of the construction process. According to Howard Davis, CEO of Assemble Systems, "Through our partnership, general contractors and subcontractors will have access to a significantly improved process for communicating project scope during the construction planning phase to reduce cost and schedule issues that negatively impact project results." Making BIM more accessible will also aid in broader understanding of a project's scope, allowing contractors to make more accurate bids.

AlphaGo, Google's AI system, which recently beat Europe's current champion at the game of Go, utilizes "deep learning" techniques to not only gain accuracy, but to essentially teach itself how to play the game. Of course, it's still a long way from reaching human learning capacities, but it is still learning to recognize positions and strategize its next move: " 'AlphaGo learned to discover new strategies for itself by playing millions of games between its neural networks, against themselves, and gradually improving,' says DeepMind researcher David Silver." Previous game-playing AI systems that have managed to win at chess or Jeopardy have been taught to analyze every possible outcome with any given move instead of truly learning how to play the game. But the true test of AlphaGo will happen in mid-March when it will play the World Champion in South Korea. Stand by...

Finally, Anna Vickers, Senior Transport Modeller at ARUP, sees an interesting future for the autonomous vehicle (AV). Vickers sees their implementation as public transportation alternatives, not just as private vehicles. Think Über meetsThe Jetsons: "AVs would always be nearby. On-demand, or pre-ordered, an AV will drive itself to you. You could also book the most appropriate vehicle – a large car for a family trip to the beach, or a small, single-occupancy vehicle for a hospital appointment." No more standing at a wet bus stop or waiting for surge pricing to end? Sign us up!  

Tags: Autonomous Vehicles Augmented Reality Architecture

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