LSU research team explores future of construction industry – The Observer

LSU research team explores the future of the construction industry

Posted 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, 2022

BATON ROUGE — As NASA prepares for a late November launch of the Artemis I Moon mission, LSU faculty are preparing themselves to properly train a future-ready construction workforce in extraterrestrial construction .

Led by LSU Assistant Professor of Construction Management Amir Jafari, the research group will work over the next year to determine how construction skills on Earth could and would translate to work on a planetary body other than the Earth. our. The work is funded by a nearly $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

“In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, [NASA], in collaboration with the European Space Agency, revealed plans to … establish permanent human habitats on the Moon and Mars by 2040,” Jafari said. “The vision of becoming an interplanetary species forces the construction industry to face an unprecedented challenge, extraterrestrial construction. In order to promote feasible and sustainable space exploration, these habitats and other infrastructure should be built in situ, which would shape a generation of the extraterrestrial construction industry. As a result, the role of construction workers in future extraterrestrial projects will be very different from current practice on Earth. »

The LSU research team will first work, with the help of its NASA collaborators, to better understand the transferable skills needed for a future extraterrestrial workforce.

“[We] have planned a two-day interdisciplinary meeting that will bring together expertise and representatives from the various disciplines that will be involved in the envisioned development of the extraterrestrial construction workforce, including, but not limited to, the engineering, construction science, architecture, computer science, robotics, human-computer interaction, planetary geoscience, workforce development, learning sciences, psychology and social sciences,” said Jafari .

“The objective of this expert meeting is to converge on the nature of future extraterrestrial construction and to build the hierarchy of skills required by future workers, as well as emerging technologies that can be used to integrate transferable skills to develop a future-ready workforce from a diverse set of perspectives.We will also use the outcomes of this meeting to inform the prototype design of AI-assisted and simulation-based virtual constructions.

Indeed, following the meeting with NASA, Jafari and his fellow LSU researchers will develop a simulation-based training environment using Unity3D and Unreal Engine. Both are 3D game engines that support the creation of interactive virtual reality simulations that run in real time. The training environment will include two key technology features: an AI agent that will deliver personalized learning experiences and an immersive VR simulation framework that will allow instructors to create training experiences and engage participants in activities. of learning.

The simulation-based training environment will build training scenarios of human-robot collaborations in the context of extraterrestrial construction, as well as other existing and future workforce fields. In order to simulate precise physical characteristics of extraterrestrial environments, construction materials and robot mechanics, the team will use a high-fidelity physics simulation toolkit that integrates both Unity3D and Unreal engines.

Once next year’s work is complete, Jafari said the team plans to use its initial results and prototype tool to submit a three-year grant proposal of up to $2 million to continue and to advance this work.

LSU faculty working alongside Jafari are Professor Yimin Zhu, Construction Management; assistant professor Ali Kazemian, construction management; assistant professor Andrew Webb, computer science; Associate Professor Jennifer Qian, Education; assistant professor Shinhee Jeong; and Suniti Karunatillake Associate Professor, Geology and Geophysics.

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