Developments in recent years have shown that more and more systems with model-based approaches are gaining in importance. In civil engineering, this is in particularly facilitated by the implementation of new methods such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). The main focus is on the delivery of information, by utilizing both geometric and semantic representations. With the advent of BIM new digital tools and processes are now widely in use.
To explore this new digital infrastructure to its full capacity, we develop new visualization and interfacing techniques, leveraging augmented and virtual reality, and consider new approaches for model interactions. Existing databases are improved and expanded upon, by collections of recorded data, for example with the help of laser scanning methods. A large amount of accurate and synchronous data may even allow for the use of robotics on a future construction site or for infrastructure health inspections. Especially artificial intelligence can be a great benefit to these applications. Currently, our main topic of research regarding sensors and visualization in the field of civil engineering can be summarized as following.
The Virtual Reality Laboratory (VR-Lab) combines the disciplines of computer science and construction in a new way, by examining challenges from the fields of VR and AR with the development of new technologies. These technologies include, for example, VR and AR glasses or gesture-controlled touch tables.
Augmented Reality is quickly becoming prevalent in the construction industry and has the potential to transform entire processes. At the chair, we research novel applications and methods of Augmented Reality in the construction industry, including AR supported maintenance, indoor navigation, and machine learning processes for AR.
The future of the construction site may be that of robots. Autonomous vehicles such as drones and robots would allow for a more efficient and safe working environment, as routine or dangerous tasks can be performed by robots. At the chair, we try to develop processes and algorithms for a construction site with autonomous vehicles, while ensuring safety and reliability.
Laser scanning makes it possible to digitally record an image of a structure at any point in time and process it as a point cloud model. On the basis of such point clouds, methods are developed to carry out, for example, an automated generation of BIM-based models or a comparison between real and virtual structures.