Augmented reality on construction sites

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

The project aims to replace paper or handheld devices with hands free heads-up augmented reality (AR) displays that would provide real time access to BIM data, enabling more efficient collaboration between teams and partners.

Starting next month, Innovate UK and Soluis will build on earlier work carried out with Laing O’Rourke on the development of an AR asset management tool, heavily implemented during the construction of 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).

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.”

Martin McDonnell, Chairman of Soluis Group added “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.”

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