A Soluis Group-led consortium has secured £1m of funding from Innovate UK to develop an Augmented Worker System (AWE), pioneering the use of virtual and augmented reality for the construction industry.
The system will enable the intelligent design, construction, maintenance and whole-life value of buildings, supporting construction and infrastructure growth. AWE will also realise significant value from Building Information Modelling (BIM) and will target a 25% reduction in cost, 25% reduction in waste, and increased productivity of 30% for projects.
Soluis Group will work with partner organisations including: Pinnacle Business Solutions, an information systems consultancy; Carbon Dynamic, an innovative world leading modular timber building construction company; two High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres – the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC).
The consortium will be supported by key industry organisations such as AECOM, Doosan Babcock, Laing O’Rourke, Autodesk and Microsoft.
Business secretary Greg Clark said: “Research and innovation are at the heart of the Government’s vision for a modern Industrial Strategy. 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.”
Lead partner in the awarded consortium, Soluis Group, is a construction visualisation company that has pioneered the application of realities technology, including development of an AR asset management tool, In-Site, that was piloted at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street station with Laing O’Rourke.
Martin McDonnell, chairman of Soluis Group commented: “The proof of concept project with Crossrail showed how this technology could be applied and add incredible value to the industry. Our vision was to develop this concept much further and create a set of tools that would form the augmented worker of the future. For a business like us, we could only drive this innovation a certain amount and working with the consortium and receiving funding from Innovate UK will help us achieve this much faster and more effectively.”
The AWE system will be designed to drive greater certainty, safety, efficiency and sustainability through five key areas – co-design, digital job guidance, progress monitoring, safety guidance and asset management. This will allow jobs to be delivered on time, and within budget, while also giving a greater level of collaboration and communication between teams and partners on projects.
David Philp, BIM director at AECOM added: “Construction technology is reshaping how we deliver and maintain our built assets, it is increasingly helping us place digital information into the real world in the right context supporting and augmenting the decision-making process. Real time access to individualised data, analytics and instructions during the construction and operational stages will greatly improve productivity, quality and also help worker well-being. Creating a framework and guidance around the augmented worker is critically important if we are to successfully unlock this value proposition.”