Carnegie Mellon Creates National Institute for AI in Construction

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Rob Wells

Carnegie Mellon University's professors Pingbo Tang and Burcu Akinci lead a team to design the National Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Construction. The pair currently work with other researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and over 40 industry partners.

The institute investigates and develops methods to quickly and efficiently integrate AI and machine learning into construction. Akinci, professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate dean of research, leads the effort.

"This National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes Planning award supports research and coordination activities to build collaborations among AI researchers, construction researchers, and industry partners, with the aim of forming an Institute for AI in Construction," Akinci and Tang wrote in their summary. "This research will identify AI problems in the construction domain that can serve as model problems, uncover novel conceptual challenges to AI research from construction applications, and identify likely dataset needs to support future research on AI in construction."

While Akinci has been spearheading the effort, Tang, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, has spent the past seven years deep into research focused on risk assessment and the human element in high-risk situations. One notable project involved simulations of taxiing aircraft and air traffic controllers to determine how artificial intelligence can prevent disasters. Another of his significant projects explores infrastructure analysis in bridge renovation.

"The construction industry will welcome the next generation of AI that integrates human intelligence and machine intelligence," Tang wrote. "Humans, as intelligent machines that learn from daily life, can collaborate with machine intelligence to tackle construction spaces in an open world full of uncertainties."

Artificial Intelligence in construction promises innovations to improve efficiency and speed. The National Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Construction, led by Pingbo Tang and Burcu Akinci, explores AI innovations for the industry.

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