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Ramin Karim, professor at Luleå University of Technology, Erik Ranängen, Byggföretagen, Kajsa Simu, adjunct senior lecturer in industrial and sustainable construction. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

The university will develop AI and digitalisation in the construction industry

Published: 15 June 2022

The AI Factory project at Luleå University of Technology is now being further expanded with AIF Construction, with the construction industry. AIF Railway and AIF Mines already exist. Research, companies and authorities collaborate in the projects.
"Our goal is for AI to be an important tool in supporting and simplifying the industry's work", says Ramin Karim, professor and executive director.

AI Factory Construction is supported by, among others, Norrbotten's Builders' Association, NCC, HÖ Allbygg, the Swedish Construction Industry Development Fund and the innovation program Smart Built Environment.

AI an important tool

The executive director is Ramin Karim, responsible for the digital platform AI Factory and professor of operation and maintenance at Luleå University of Technology.
"Erik Ranängen from Norrbottens Byggmästareförening and Byggföretagen in Norrbotten contacted me after seeing our AI work with industry and railways. Construction is also a complex industry with a lot of data and information. The role as site manager, for example, means that you must know about the laws, orderings and build technology, as well as be able to make decisions and coordinate all parts. We see AI as an important tool for supporting and simplifying for people in these information-heavy key roles", says Ramin Karim.

Can increase efficiency

The project also involves researcher Kajsa Simu and professor Olle Samuelson from the university, both of whom have extensive experience of industrial and sustainable construction and digitization. They believe that AI Factory Construction will help increase productivity, efficiency and sustainability in the construction process.
"Today we know how to build sustainably, but there is a big technological leap that the industry can take to maximize the potential and build smarter. Digitization and AI require new skills, but will at the same time meet many of the challenges we face. This is a national initiative, but we are starting at the regional level to lay the foundation", says Kajsa Simu.

A collaboration

Digitization in the construction industry has been going on for a long time, but needs to be developed. Among other things due to the fragmentation with niche companies that collaborate in project form. The industry is now starting a collaboration with Luleå University of Technology for a joint research project. Erik Ranängen from Norrbotten's Builders' Association and Byggföretagen in Norrbotten are behind the idea for the new consortium.
"In the construction industry, there are many research projects in digitization, but there is a lack of research in AI. I see great opportunities to improve the ability of our industry by taking advantage of the work that has been developed with new technology in other industries such as railway and mining, and this is especially important now with the large infrastructure investments that are being made. To succeed, we need to talk more about innovation, development and renewed knowledge. In this research project, we start from the industry's needs and then we apply new AI methods and tools to it", says Erik Ranängen.
AI Factory for Construction runs until 31 August 2024 and PhD students are currently being recruited for the project. The application is open until midsummer 2022.

Exacutive director

Ramin Karim

Ramin Karim, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492344
Organisation: Operation and Maintenance, Operation, Maintenance and Acoustics, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering