Virtual reality is the term engineers use to describe the three-dimensional simulated environment they create using the latest computer software technology. It involves the application of cutting-edge graphics, visual art styles to rendering life-like experiences and ultra-modern hardware devices. Unlike conventional user interfaces, virtual reality generally enables the end-users to explore and interact with this computer-generated 3D artificial environment via a VR headset. The VR headset immerses them in a realistic 3D environment where they are not merely spectators but co-participators.
Reddy Kancharla is a leading geotechnical consultant and civil engineer from Briarcliff Manor in New York City. He has more than 25 years of valuable experience in construction quality control, geotechnical consultation, troubleshooting, corrective action planning, and construction quality control. Over the years, he has been the mastermind behind the construction of many of New York’s prominent landmarks. These include the USTA National Tennis Center, 7 WTC, the Bloomberg high-rise building, Goldman Sachs, the terminals of JFK Airport, and the Yankee Stadium.
According to Reddy Kancharla, virtual reality is making significant inroads in the field of civil construction. Virtual reality applications are now becoming indispensable tools in the hands of civil engineers. They use them along with building information modeling (BIM) software programs to better understand complex building projects. He further points out the following ways virtual reality is revolutionizing architecture:
- Enhance the understanding of the building’s construction
Even before constructing a building, civil engineers first try to mentally visualize its foundation and structure. Then, they use the latest computer-aided design and building information modeling (BIM) software application to create a properly scaled three-dimensional (3D) model. Unfortunately, the computer-generated information does not offer them an entire life-like experience of constructing the building. The implementation of virtual reality technologies to BM models offers an interactive, informative, and immersive virtual representation of the building’s construction.
- Boost collaboration
Civil engineers often have to work with architects, contractors, land developers, and designers to construct building projects. It is common for all these specialists to have different ideas on how to commence construction projects. This often leads to numerous misunderstandings between them. Using virtual reality applications throughout the design and construction process enables them to grasp the fundamental aspects of the building project. They then work as a cohesive team to ensure the timely completion of the building project.
- Ideal training tool
Virtual reality technology is the perfect tool to train novice construction workers on how to safely use heavy equipment. In a risk-free virtual environment, they can learn how to operate dragline excavators, tower cranes, bulldozers, graders, and wheel tractor scrapers. In the process, they can recognize and, in the future, avoid making all kinds of beginner -mistakes as their proficiency improves. Similarly, virtual reality technologies are an ideal teaching tool to train undergraduate civil engineers on how to properly manage construction sites.
Reddy Kancharla sums up by saying virtual reality is fundamental in changing the way civil engineers construct building projects. The technology will gradually replace the current techniques they use to build roads, bridges, houses, and other structures. It will also improve emerging construction methods and quality control parameters.