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Civiltech Solutions: A key connection

Cyvl.ai and CivilTech Solutions’ sensor uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of routine road inspections and maintenance. Image: Cyvl.ai.

CivilTech Solutions’ services in project management, asset inspection, civil design and delivery are all connected through its use of high-tech solutions, helping to provide sustainable and innovative infrastructure development. 

The viability and effectiveness of artificial intelligence (AI) in the infrastructure and construction sector is growing at an exponential rate, with the technology constantly improving thanks to machine learning and development.

For some however, hesitancy towards the use of AI stems from a lack of understanding, as well as the comfortability provided by traditional methods.

But as the power curve shifts towards a greater reliance on technology, both public and private industry must shift too in order to remain up to date with the best that the sector has to offer.

Civiltech Solutions, as well as its partner Cyvl.ai, are transforming the infrastructure space, developing AI integrated devices to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of infrastructure mapping and reporting. As Paul Clyne, Managing Director – Road Network Services explains.

“In order to achieve great and sustainable outcomes for road infrastructure, we need data. Nowadays we can use AI in terms of defect recognition, so cracks, potholes, rutting and other aspects to see how that data is performing,” he says.

“It’s about better planning, better programming and better forecasting. AI can give you a more accurate analysis of what you’re predicting. Rather than using a method that’s based on different parameters – and it’s still up to a human to decide whether or not there’s an issue – AI technology gives you a far more accurate forecast. 

“There’s a flow on effect to that too. It can lead to more accurate budgeting, more accurate forecasting and better use of resources for an LGA,” Clyne says. 

This approach is what the Civiltech team refer to as ‘predictive maintenance’, the process of detection and accurate data collection and application to prevent potential road defects from happening in the first place. 

CivilTech Solutions’ Artificial Intelligence services and products could help to increase the longevity of Australia’s road network through ‘preventative maintenance’.Image: Cyvl.ai.
CivilTech Solutions’ Artificial Intelligence services and products could help to increase the longevity of Australia’s road network through ‘preventative maintenance’.
Image: Cyvl.ai.

Leigh Carnall, Director – Civiltech Solutions, says that there are solutions out there for data capture. But without the ability to properly understand and use data, this information could be considered useless.

“There’s a lot of technical solutions in the market today that are scanning and presenting wonderful pictures that look fantastic, but they’re not actually transitioning them into real outcomes for the end user,” he says. 

“They’re unable to join the dots for the customer around ‘well okay, what does this data mean for me in the field?’ What we’re able to do is join those dots on the technology, what it means for the customer and how to get a value-add outcome.”

There’s also an important sustainability aspect for the use of AI and a predictive maintenance approach, as Carnall adds.

“We spend an awful lot of natural resources, quarry materials and also public money building these assets, so you have to surpass the design life as a minimum. That’s where its important to have ways that we can measure the way that a pavement is deteriorating in order to make small decisions and fixes earlier on,” he says.

“By making decisions earlier on we can get 40 to 50 years of life out of pavements. That’s of course a far more sustainable outcome than just getting to the end of a 20-year life and then needing to reconstruct it.”

How is this achieved?

Civiltech Solutions specialises in providing infrastructure consultation across a variety of services, which includes project management, asset inspection and management, civil design, drone surveying and data analysis.

These technologies have already been used on major infrastructure projects across the country. 

The company’s expertise in software development has enhanced project delivery on works such as the Alice Springs Airport and the Arnhem Highway Upgrade.


 

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In recent years, Civiltech Solutions has grown on its relationship with AI technologies developer Cyvl.ai. 

Daniel Pelaez, CEO, Co-Founder – Cyvl.ai, says the US-based company is producing solutions that create desirable outcomes for all stakeholders associated with infrastructure development and maintenance.

“We started to recognise the huge need that local governments have when it came to maintaining their roadways and their physical infrastructure. We developed a novel solution to help both governments and engineering consultant firms to capture data more effectively and faster while producing better results for these condition assessments,” he says.

“We’re leveraging the latest and greatest sensors and technologies from the robotics space. We’ve recognised that this hardware was becoming less expensive and very scalable. We entered the market with a solution that was easy to implement, easy to afford and produced great results for governments and engineering firms alike.”

So, how does this technology work?

Cyval.ai’s sensor can be mounted to any vehicle, ensuring that the technology is easy to install and is non-invasive. Once installed on the roof of a car for example, the sensor – along with Cyval.ai’s AI algorithms – evaluate factors such as pavement conditions, pavement markings and signage.

This information is able to be viewed in actionable reports within days, with the process of completing field surveys being ultimately 10 times faster than traditional methods.

“This data can be captured across even an entire continent on a regular basis. Roadways are one of, if not the most, valuable assets that LGAs and state governments build and maintain. When they’re maintaining that, they need to make sure they’re spending their money wisely. The best way to do that is to have regular data points on how conditions are changing,” Pelaez says.

“If you’re doing multiple inspections per year, it can provide an important insight into your billion-dollar infrastructure system to really predict when things are going to start failing. Instead of reacting to a major problem, you can predict it”. 

One of Cyvl.ai’s car-mounted sensors in action. Image: Cyvl.ai.
One of Cyvl.ai’s car-mounted sensors in action. Image: Cyvl.ai.

Civiltech Solutions and Cyvl.ai got together due to Carnall’s research into AI models and sensors, presenting a challenge to develop and introduce similar technologies into the Australian market and applications.

“There’re obviously roadways everywhere across the world, so we knew from the onset that this was a solution that wasn’t just going to be limited to our home country,” Pelaez says.

“What I’ve learnt from my experience here in the US is that infrastructure is a little bit different from region to region. We’ve had to modify the AI model and retrain it a little bit. We’ve been using a similar process in Australia.”

Pelaez adds that this transition hasn’t been too cumbersome, with a clear overlap of modern civil engineering construction techniques between the US and Australia helping to smooth the process somewhat.

“We’re actually moving along quicker than what we initially expected,” he says. “What we’re doing now is working with Leigh and his team to capture as much data as we can across the country, across different regions to create a diverse dataset. That way we can do that final ‘retraining’. 

“It’s going very smoothly, Leigh (Carnall) and the Civiltech team have been great to work with. He really understands how important that data is to modify and implement an effective AI model.”

From his perspective, Pelaez believes the hesitancy towards AI technology is slowly dissipating, with the benefits of the technology there for all to see.

“The market has shifted in a really good way. It’s really starting to embrace these new technologies for infrastructure with open arms,” he says. 

“What excites us the most is that there’s so much room for improvement in this space. We’re just starting to scratch the surface here.”

Civiltech Solutions and Cyvl.ai will work closely over the coming months to continue the development of the system, which both parties say is not too far away from widespread use domestically.

“Leigh’s super passionate about bringing this technology to a space that really needs it. He understands this space better than anyone being a lifelong pavement engineer,” Pelaez says. 

“A lot of people are talking about this tech, but they’re not really embracing the technology. It’s people like Leigh that are really pushing the ball forward and transforming the industry. We’ve very glad to be working with them.

“If there’s anybody as ambitious as Leigh out there, they really need to get involved, because we’re onto something big here.” 

This article was originally published in the February edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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