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IBM Utilise AI, 3D Modelling and Data Capture in Preserving Aging Infrastructure
October 28, 2020 News


IBM announced new capabilities in IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure to help prolong the lifespan of aging bridges, tunnels, highways, and railways. New enhancements include the ability to deploy on Red Hat OpenShift for hybrid cloud environments, as well as new AI and 3D model annotation tools that can provide deep industry and task-specific insights to support engineers.

The prevalence of aging infrastructure around the world, threatens the continuity of day-to-day life for citizens worldwide. Owners, operators and engineers need to be able to improve their ability to decide where, when and how to address infrastructure issues with critical assets that must endure for generations.

IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure can consolidate numerous sources of data including maintenance and design details; near real-time IoT data generated from sensors; wearables; stationary cameras, drones and weather data from The Weather Company. This data can help operators assess the impact of damage such as cracks, rust and corrosion, as well as displacement vibrations and stress. By better managing and prioritising infrastructure repair, organisations can work to reduce the need for time-intensive manual inspections and unnecessary costs.

“Tools like AI, predictive maintenance, drones and hybrid cloud will play an important role in meeting the challenge of rising infrastructure costs, and helping these vital structures endure for future generations,” said Bjarne Jørgensen, Executive Director, Asset Management at Sund and Baelt. “These solutions can help determine the exact need for maintenance in near real-time to assist organisations in extending the lifetime of structures.”

IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure allows civil engineers to make structures come alive using 3D modelling and AI visual recognition tools developed by IBM Research. With the additional capabilities like Maximo Visual Inspection, it makes it easier to identify defects, their root-cause, and place them in the context of the greater structure. These tools that allow for more rapid assessments can be increasingly important for future engineers as skills availability may be a challenge.

“Infrastructure maintenance is a problem that’s being compounded from all sides: Bridges are getting older, payloads are getting larger, and the necessary preventive actions and maintenance are often postponed due to lack of funding,” Jørgensen added. “With Maximo for Civil Infrastructure, IBM is introducing a solution that addresses the problem from all sides, using IoT and AI technology to administer more proactive repairs, maintain invaluable institutional and engineering knowledge, and better prioritise resources.”

“Maximo for Civil Infrastructure was developed with input from some of the largest operators of infrastructure in the world so that IBM’s powerful technology across AI and IoT is carefully adapted to the unique needs of civil engineers,” said Joe Berti, VP of AI Applications at IBM. “With these tools we believe civil engineers will be able to innovate and improve the methods for monitoring, maintaining and preserving important structures around the world.”

IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure provides the following new capabilities, in addition to the core offerings available as part of the IBM Maximo Application Suite.

Maximo Application Suite licensing and Open Shift deployment: Customers can now deploy asset management, sensor integration, advanced data analytics including AI functionality and visual analytic capability with a single license. Capabilities including Monitor and Health can be deployed now on RedHat Open Shift, allowing customers to more quickly deploy, manage and scale their hybrid cloud deployments with ease.

Defect Management: A new user interface allows inspectors to record defect information, add multi-variable defect rankings, attach pictures and store defect history. Structural defects do not exist in isolation, they can affect everything they touch and the integrity of the overall structure. AI can help engineers better identify root causes and patterns that indicate a defect may reoccur by comparing detected defects against work history, sensor data, weather and traffic data and more.

Improved 3D Visualisation: Most serious defects are located within the structure and are not necessarily visible from the outside. New tools within the Maximo BIM viewer plugin allow users to add annotations to their standard 3D models, giving users access to a 3D representation of an asset, for example a pillar or beam, where all the defects have been annotated.

Asset Loader Improvements: While every piece of civil infrastructure is unique, many share common hierarchies of assets, and some organisations have hundreds or even thousands of similar structures that need to be defined in the asset management system. A new tool streamlines the import and export of an asset hierarchy, including a new UI to manage the process and select files.