The concept of autonomy has already generated a significant amount of public interest. From thermostats to robotic vacuum cleaners, autonomous technology is already permeating our daily lives. For civil and environmental engineering, autonomy encompasses the use of artificial intelligence, data, materials and robotics to revolutionize the methods of design, construction and operation of the built environment and the management of resources. Autonomy is transforming conventional infrastructure to smart infrastructure, allowing for robust decentralized infrastructure systems. It is reshaping our mobility systems and catalyzing new mobility services and business models.
Cities around the world could spend as much as $41 trillion on smart tech over the next 20 years.
Rapid developments in other engineering fields are opening doors for new levels of autonomy in civil and environmental engineering. Automated vehicles interacting with instrumented highways, adaptive water and energy utilities that respond to changing demands, exoskeleton-empowered skilled workers capable of exceeding human endurance, and autonomous robots and equipment performing dangerous tasks involved in constructing civil infrastructure are now all within the realm of realization.
The evolving proliferation of autonomy in civil and environmental engineering promises the emergence of new career opportunities that require a workforce with the skills to confidently apply new technologies across civil and environmental engineering domains. This necessitates a broad, multidisciplinary education in civil and environmental engineering that also trains future students in interdisciplinary areas related to computer science, data analytics, control, economics and business.
CEE Professor Photios G. Ioannou and his co-authors have received an award recognizing their outstanding paper in the field of civil and building engineering informatics.
Adding simulated vehicles to closed-course testing can train robocars to handle even the most unlikely scenarios
Autonomous water valves that can prevent storm flooding
By developing autonomous water valves control, University of Michigan researchers can reduce or prevent flooding and runoff after storms. Using the internet, a network has been created between bodies of water to actively manage their levels.
Our strategic vision positions civil and environmental engineers as the scientific, technological and business leaders tackling the complex societal grand challenges ahead. We have identified five strategic directions that will inform our future growth.Explore our five strategic directions »