Everyday cameras and computer vision algorithms are digitizing construction projects to keep builders on schedule.

What’s new: Based in Tel Aviv, Buildots maps output from building-site cameras onto simulations of the work in progress, enabling construction managers to monitor progress remotely. At least two large European builders are using the system, according to MIT Technology Review.

How it works: A client supplies to Buildots blueprints and plans, including schedules and lists of parts, for completion of each task involved in a building project. Buildots supplies GoPro 360-degree cameras mounted atop hardhats.

  • The company uses the blueprints to build a detailed 3D mockup, known as a digital twin, of the finished building.
  • Cameras worn by workers upload pictures to a remote server where image recognition software identifies and tracks as many as 150,000 objects.
  • The system determines whether the objects are where they’re supposed to be and whether they’ve been fully installed. Then it updates the mockup appropriately.
  • Managers can track progress via an online dashboard. They receive email or text alerts when tasks fall behind schedule.

Behind the news: AI startups are aiming to make the technology as fundamental to the construction industry as steel-toed boots.

  • Civdrone accelerates site surveys using drones that place geo-tagged stakes in the ground.
  • Smartvid.io helps keep workers safe by tracking whether they are wearing protective gear and — crucial in the Covid-era — observing social-distance protocols.
  • Intsite builds systems that help heavy equipment operators balance loads, spot hazards, and choose where to drop their loads.

Why it matters: Mistakes can become delays that add to a construction project’s cost. Market research firm McKinsey estimated that the construction industry could add $1.6 trillion to the global GDP by catching mistakes before they cause serious delays.

We’re thinking: Buildots is bringing new meaning to the phrase “AI architecture.”

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