Future-oriented: People have been building structures with 3D printing techniques for years, but one group of researchers wants to take AI-driven construction to a new scale. If he succeeds, he can build a dam faster and cheaper than with human labor.
Recently, researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing revealed plans to build a nearly 600-foot-tall dam using 3D printing methods. This may be the largest 3D printed, AI-built structure ever made, but that may also depend on the definition of “3D printing.”
Builders have already saved time and money from construction homes using large 3D printers to make concrete layers. Last year, a manufacturing company used robotic additive manufacturing of wire and arc to 3D print a metal bridge in the Netherlands. However, Tsinghua University’s proposal does not include such techniques.
Researchers want full the currently under construction 590-foot Yangqu hydroelectric plant on the Tibetan side of the Yellow River, employing a legion of AI-controlled robots, excavators, trucks, bulldozers, pavers and other vehicles. Combined with an automated planning system, the researchers refer to the system as one massive 3D printer.
No human will be directly involved in the construction of the dam. The AI will divide a 3D model of the project into layers, then assign each layer to the drones in sequence. AI will automatically plan material gathering, driving routes and placement. It can also analyze vibrations to determine build quality. People will only mine the fill rocks.
In addition to speed and cost advantages, the machines can better withstand hazards such as low oxygen levels, operate around the clock, and the researchers believe they are less prone to human error. The most obvious downside is the potential job losses that usually come with such a large-scale project.
The dam is scheduled to be completed in 2024 and will supply nearly 5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to Henan province.
The Chinese government could very well sign the proposal in mind Good luck on another major 3D printing construction project in Shanghai last year. The Wisdom Bay Bridge is a nearly 30-foot Bluetooth-controlled bridge that can be deployed in less than a minute.
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