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Digital Twin and AI: Roles and Benefits in the AECO Sector

Digital twin and AI join forces to create virtual replicas and provide valuable insights. Discover what this innovative combination is and the role it plays.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making its way into an increasing number of sectors, including the construction industry, integrating with the digital twin concept and offering significant advantages and benefits to professionals in the AECO sector. Let’s explore the role of artificial intelligence in the digital twin and how they are collectively transforming the world of construction.
To ensure you’re well-prepared, consider starting by digitally replicating your assets using dedicated digital twin management software, to which you can implement AI technologies.

What is an AI Digital Twin?

To interpret this specificity of the digital twin accurately, let’s begin by understanding the meaning of the abbreviation AI in the international context of AI Digital Twin.
While we are familiar with the concept of a digital twin, the AI abbreviation is relatively new when associated with the digital twin.

AI stands for “Artificial Intelligence,” which is the field that explores how to create intelligent computer systems capable of simulating human thought processes and behavior. In other words, artificial intelligence refers to a machine’s ability to exhibit human-like skills such as reasoning, learning, planning, and creativity.

When artificial intelligence is combined with the faithful digital reproduction of an object, system, or process—the digital twin—it generates an “intelligent machine” capable of responding in a manner similar to human intelligence.

AI technology in digital twins is a theoretical and technical system that enables a wide range of applications, such as product design, equipment manufacturing, aerospace simulations, and more.

Currently, the construction industry is perhaps lagging behind in the joint application of artificial intelligence and the digital twin. This is despite research showing that implementing digital twin technology associated with AI can increase construction productivity levels and assist companies, especially larger ones, in addressing key challenges such as cost reduction, schedule delays, and safety risk mitigation.

What is an AI digital twin

What is an AI digital twin

What Role Does Artificial Intelligence Play in the Digital Twin?

We know that digital twin technology receives data and information from various types of sensors. What changes, then, when we replace the common sensors with the interaction of our digital twin and artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence can enhance the efficiency of digital twins by providing insights beyond what real-world sensors offer. AI can automatically:

  • make predictions about the future;
  • independently decide which tests to perform based on received data;
  • forecast actions that would achieve desired outcomes;
  • rapidly detect any anomalies from sensors.

Essentially, the technological sophistication of a digital twin can be taken to three levels:

  • a digital twin that, based on collected data, enables asset monitoring;
  • a digital twin with implemented technologies that also allow for simulations;
  • a digital twin that interacts with artificial intelligence and can make predictions and decisions by simulating human behavior.

Taking things further, digital twins can also incorporate virtual reality, mixed reality, or the Internet of Things (IoT).

How Are Digital Twin and AI Transforming the Construction Industry?

In the construction sector, the digital twin is already a powerful tool that digitally replicates assets, activities, or processes, enabling lifecycle monitoring.
However, introducing artificial intelligence provides that extra boost to the digital twin, allowing it to:

  • prescribe actions in the physical world;
  • identify alternative processes to mitigate issues;
  • introduce solutions for reducing downtime and cost savings;
  • mitigate safety risks;
  • enhance efficiency across all phases, from planning to reuse;
  • increase overall business profitability.
AI Digital Twin in the AECO sector

AI Digital Twin in the AECO sector

Integrating AI into the digital twin means that project managers can monitor equipment, assets, or processes without the physical presence of any workers, resulting in continuous monitoring that enables predictive maintenance and cost savings.

Furthermore, it’s important to highlight that the use of artificial intelligence replaces human involvement in some potentially hazardous construction activities, enhancing worker safety and simultaneously improving plant operations through better prediction of future faults and the ability to maintain resource performance efficiently.

Regarding efficiency, the advantages extend to energy efficiency and thus environmental sustainability. The AI Digital Twin offers greater transparency in reporting and measurements, providing clarity on which systems or components to optimize for overall asset sustainability. In terms of energy management, AI-enhanced digital twins emphasize processes and equipment that consume energy anomalously, contributing to the fight against unnecessary energy wastage and allowing interventions for repairs or replacements.

Clearly, the combination of artificial intelligence and the digital twin is advantageous for the AECO sector. Now, you can start with digital reproductions of your assets using a digital twin software that enables you to design, manage, and monitor construction and infrastructure digital twins in real time.