AI in the built environment

AI in the built environment

In these unprecedented times, we are all rethinking how best to operate, design and construct our built environment. The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly stimulating digital innovation, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning already has a role in this regard.

But are those working within the built environment ready for this new approach? In this thought provoking online debate, experts from across Arup's Advanced Digital Engineering team discuss how they're already making use of AI and Machine Learning to deliver solutions to clients, and begin to address the UN Sustainability Goals

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Held on the 12th June 2020, panellists took part in sessions run with Australasia and the Americas to allow for global participation. Whilst each session follows a broadly similar narrative, a regional perspective is lent by the participation of locally based speakers. Each session includes two individual panels followed by a Q&A session.

AI in the built environment: Australasia session

In this first session introduced by Will Cavendish, we hear from local experts including Arup Director Haico Schepers addressing facade inspection with the creation of 'Alfie', an autonomous tools in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, as well as Negin Yousefpour from our Melbourne office infrastructure maintenance with predictive techniques.

First panel: AI and machine learning applications (click to view speakers)

00:01:38 Will Cavendish - Welcome

00:06:28 Steve Walker – Natural flood management: through concept to construction

00:15:37 Negin Yousefpour – The next generation of bridge maintenance technology: bridge scour forecasting using AI

00:23:12 Haico Schepers – Machine learning for façade defects monitoring

00:32:40 Cathal Leahy – Optimising water treatment: Northern Ireland Water

00:39:55 Tom Heath – The Built Environment needs a special kind of AI

00:48:51 Q& A Panel chaired by Will Cavendish

In this second panel, we hear from Zoe Webb, an ecologist focussed on enhancing and integrating biodiversity into infrastructure master planning, who discusses how AI and ML are aiding the process of baselining the behaviours of rare species, in order to help infrastructure projects mitigate impacts on rare species and meet the demands of UK protection laws. Volker Buscher, Arup's Chief Data Officer, discusses how the industry can consider the removal of barriers such as cost and access to data, whilst Arup Fellow, Helen Campbell, considers how to improve privacy and intrusion into private lives when trying to understand how people move around.

Second panel: AI and machine learning explorations (click to view speakers)

00:00:17 Zoe Webb – Mitigating impacts on wildcat: improving analysis, assessment and decision making

00:07:54 Paul Lynch – An AI assistant for offshore inspections: screening for corrosion in large photo datasets

00:15:05 Helen Campbell – Understanding how people move in the Built Environment

00:21:53 Volker Buscher – The Data Supernova: tackling cost and friction in the Built Environment

00:30:47 Q& A Panel chaired by Steve Walker

00:41:50 Closing remarks by Will Cavendish

AI in the built environment: Americas session

In the first panel of our second session, following a welcome from Digital Services Leader Will Cavendish, we hear from Cathal Leahy, who explains how his team has been working with Northern Ireland Water to reduce water and energy consumption whilst delivering operational improvements. Erica Levine then moves on to discuss working with Whole Foods Market to retrofit an existing grocery store to achieve ZNE-ready, creating a blueprint that can be replicated by grocery stores throughout the country. Finally, Tom Heath, Arup's Lead Data Scientist, urges the industry to use AI that takes into account human centric systems.

First panel: AI and machine learning applications (click to view speakers)

Will Cavendish - Welcome

00:07:06 Steve Walker – Natural flood management: through concept to construction

00:17:13 Cathal Leahy – Optimising water treatment: Northern Ireland Water

00:24:38 Erica Levine – Innovative Modeling to Meet California’s Zero Net Energy Goals

00:31:45 Tom Heath – The Built Environment needs a special kind of AI

00:42:05 Q& A Panel chaired by Will Cavendish

In the second panel, Lachlan Miles, product manager for Arup's MassMotion software, discusses how the integration of learned models from observation of how people move in specific environments can improve the fidelity of simulations.

Second panel: AI and machine learning explorations (click to view speakers)

00:00:27 Zoe Webb – Mitigating impacts on wildcat: improving analysis, assessment and decision making

00:08:25 Paul Lynch – An AI assistant for offshore inspections: screening for corrosion in large photo datasets

00:15:38 Lachlan Miles – Understanding how people move in the Built Environment

00:20:59 Volker Buscher – The Data Supernova: tackling cost and friction in the Built Environment

00:34:11 Q& A Panel chaired by Steve Walker

00:50:30 Closing remarks by Will Cavendish