highway engineer with plans (ShutterStock image)

Can augmented reality improve highway construction?

Augmented reality apps that combine real images and computer-generated information are already being tested on construction sites across the country, and now the Federal Highway Administration is taking a closer look at the technology.

The FHWA wants to know if AR can address quality assurance issues, communications among project participants and management of highway infrastructure assets and has issued a call for a study.

“AR has a potential to reduce the construction cost, improve the delivery time, and assist with overall management of a construction project,” the agency said in a recent sources sought notice.

FHWA wants to conduct a comprehensive study of available AR technology and assess its reliability and practical applications to help determine how it can be applied for construction management. The study is expected to explore advantages, limitations and costs of using AR as well as future challenges with the technology.

Specifically, the FHWA wants to document methodologies used to store, retrieve and archive the big data generated by AR. It also plans to conduct case studies to encourage wider use of AR in highway construction management.

Many of the current programs leveraging AR in construction use Microsoft’s HoloLens, according to the MIT Technology Review, although the FHWA wants its study to review a variety of AR systems.

Responses are due March 17.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at mleonard@gcn.com or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.

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