Regardless of what future technologies and inventions lay in store for us, there will always be a need for civil engineers to develop and continue to develop dreams and concepts into reality. The field of civil engineering is as vibrant as ever with new innovations being introduced every day that could completely transform the way civil engineering will be done in the next few years. We don’t even need to look too far into the future to see some of the innovations that were merely dreams just a few years ago being materialized. In this article, we’re going to explore a few recent and up and coming trends that could take civil engineering to a whole new level.
1. Drone Technology
Drone technology is now being utilized for innumerable reasons. From entertainment, delivery and warfare. Not only are engineers developing these highly accurate unmanned aerial vehicles but they are also furthering what civil engineers are now capable of. Drones can be used for photo scanning to an exceptionally detailed level. Once scanned, the images can be rendered into highly accurate 3D representations that can be used in civil engineering projects.
2. VR/AR/Holographic Technology
The term virtual reality has been around for a long time, but only in the last few years have we been seeing truly accurate representations of environments commercially, thanks to the development of devices like the Oculus Rift. Whilst the entertainment value of such devices is fairly obvious, VR can also be used as a training tool, allowing civil engineers to develop their ideas without the need for fully working prototypes in the initial stages of planning. Errors can be detected far earlier that could save vast amounts of money.
Similarly, we are seeing holographic technology being used to allow long distance collaboration between civil engineers who are experts in different fields to perfect and fine tune holographic representations of ideas in real time. Whilst the technology is currently limited, it is likely that we will see improvements over time thus increasing the amount of real world applications that holograms have.
3. 3D Printing
3D Printing continues to create new challenges and opportunities for the civil engineer. 3D printers are no longer viewed as home devices for enthusiasts and amateur designers, but as a practical tool for civil engineering. The hardware is constantly improving and reducing in cost. More exciting however is that it allows civil engineers to look at projects in a completely different way. 3D printers now have the capability to print houses, bridges and vehicles using a variety of different materials. Because designs can be scaled up and down relatively simply, this makes it the ideal technology to develop multiple 3d models and refine your plans each time without incurring huge costs.
Even becoming an engineer is developing and changing. Many people are now taking a civil engineering degree online. The New Jersey Institute of Technology has seen its civil engineering online degree grow exponentially since its launch because students are now able to access world class training from virtually anywhere. So if you are a civil engineer, or even thinking about becoming a civil engineer, it’s safe to say that your future is bright and ultimately, limitless.