How technology is changing civil engineering

How technology is changing civil engineering

These days, it’s almost impossible to think of an area of life or business that hasn’t been impacted by the seemingly unstoppable march of technology. From improved medical care and diagnosis enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to smart devices and services in the home, computers and gadgets are having a transformative effect on all almost aspects of modern living.

Indeed, this growing use of tech around the world has even led many experts to suggest that we are currently in the process of a fourth industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0 as it is often referred to.

With such ubiquitous use of tech across all sectors, it should come as little surprise that it is also starting to revolutionize civil engineering industry. Below are just a few of the more innovative ways computers, tech and devices are changing how civil engineers approach their projects.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for designing structures

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software has completely transformed the way civil engineers think about designing structures. Where once these processes involved comparatively simple tools like tape measures and hand-drawn sketches, today’s engineers are able to build centimeter-accurate designs in 3D space, including all the components required for the build.

CAD software dramatically cuts down waste and also allows engineers to plan the most efficient and cost-effective designs for their clients.

The use of drones for land surveys

Drones are unrivalled in their capacity for aerial photography and videography however they are also proving to be highly useful for the overhead mapping tasks that are common in almost all civil design projects.

Moreover, drones can also be used to fly into otherwise dangerous or difficult-to-reach places, giving engineers a greater understanding of terrain. As the drone is unmanned, it removes any risk to life implications while still providing incredibly accurate images and mapping information.

Helping design the cities of the future with the Internet of Things (IoT)

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) describes the concept of smart, independent devices connected over the internet that are capable of sensing, relaying and interpreting data. As the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds continue to blur and we share more and more data online, so the IoT is fast becoming an unimaginably useful tool.

In the case of civil engineering design services, the IoT can help engineers do their job more effectively by offering increased insight into how things work. Good engineering isn’t just about how things look – rather it also needs to consider how things work.

For example, imagine a civil engineering company has been tasked with redesigning and producing the most efficient road network possible. Using the information gathered by the IoT, the engineers would be able to gain a far deeper understanding of how traffic currently flows around a city and identify any potential bottlenecks. Also, by installing a more advanced IoT, they would be able to produce a so-called Smart City including traffic lights that could better control the smooth passage of vehicles and perform proactively to eliminate possible jams thereby improving flow.