Intelligent digitization in bridge stock with mdfBIM+: Through automation to the digital twin 

  project illustration mdfBIM+ Copyright: © ICOM

Artificial Intelligence meets innovation: Digital construction models based on the BIM method (Building Information Modeling) are an essential prerequisite for efficient and sustainable maintenance management of transport infrastructure. Under the leadership of ICoM, the Institute for Construction Management, Digital Construction and Robotics in the field of Civil Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, an interdisciplinary consortium from science and industry aims to enable the efficient (partially) automated creation of digital twins for transport infrastructure.

The mdfBIM+ project has started on December 1st, 2021 and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with a total of 2,691,000 euros over a period of three years as part of the mFUND innovation initiative.

The building maintenance of approximately 25,000 railroad bridges and almost 40,000 bridges in the federal highway network requires a reliable digital basis in the form of digital structure models. However, so far these can only be generated with a high expenditure of time and resources. Existing inventory documentation is mostly in analog form and is often not up-to-date. As a result, it is becoming immensely difficult for operators of infrastructure facilities to carry out future-oriented, digitized, and thus efficient building maintenance. This is where the partially automated creation of digital building models can help.

Via multi-data fusion to the digital twin of infrastructure buildings

“Digital construction models are the essential basis for efficient maintenance of our transport infrastructure. If we can generate these in an automated way by merging current scan data and existing inventory documentation, we will take a big step towards digital maintenance and thus towards a sustainable infrastructure“, Professor Katharina Klemt-Albert, who is in charge of the research project, emphasizes.

For the model generation, the researchers use geometric measurement data (such as point clouds and photogrammetry) on the one hand and existing construction documentation of the infrastructure buildings on the other. The geometric measurement data is collected from the air by drone in conjunction with special LIDAR- and camera systems, and interpreted by using AI-based algorithms. At the same time, the existing inventory documents are evaluated in terms of their reliability and fused with the geometric data. This creates a digital representation of the transport infrastructure as a so-called digital twin. This is of great importance for future-oriented and digital maintenance management. The mdfBIM+ project thus makes a direct contribution to the availability and improvement of mobility in society.

The research project promotes digitization and competence in dealing with key technologies of the future. In the context of the project, new jobs are being created, and therefore supporting the structural transformation of the coal regions into a location for innovation.

About the BMVI’s mFUND

As part of the mFUND innovation initiative, the BMVI has been funding research and development projects related to data-based digital applications for „Mobility 4.0“ since 2016. In addition to financial support, the mFUND supports networking between stakeholders from politics, business, and research with various event formats as well as access to the mCLOUD data portal.

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