Augmented reality heads to the construction site

A consortium led by civil engineering visualisation expert Soluis Group has received £1m of funding from Innovate UK to develop a so-called Augmented Worker System (AWE) for the construction industry.

AR technology could help streamline the construction process

Aimed at enabling engineers to make the most of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools that are now widely used by the construction sector, the project hopes to replace paper or handheld devices with hands free heads-up augmented reality (AR) displays that would provide real time access to data, and enable greater collaboration between teams and partners.

The project, which will kick off in September 2017, will build on earlier work Soluis carried out with Laing O’Rourke on the development of an AR asset management tool, that was piloted at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station.

Other companies involved in the project include IT consultant Pinnacle Business Solutions, modular construction specialist Carbon Dynamic and both the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).

A trial of AR technology at Crossrail's Liverpool Street station

The funding was awarded by Innovate UK as part of the Infrastructure Systems competition which aims to stimulate innovation that creates UK business growth in infrastructure systems.

Commenting on the investment,  business secretary Greg Clark said: “The adoption of cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technology in industries like construction will be vital in helping us identify new, smarter ways of working.”