Within Aarsleff's head office in Newark, UK, the virtual reality room - now known by its employees as the ‘VROOM', uses 3D simulation and data mapping technology to bring project drawings to life. The technology aids estimators in their project proposals, allowing staff to visit project sites, observe site access points to determine appropriate rig type, and see the surrounding environment before ever having to step foot on site.
Aarsleff has teamed up 3D technology and software development studio Luminous Group to develop a virtual reality application that will enable Aarsleff's clients to virtually visit their construction site. Users will be able to experience and interact with the ground engineering specialist's disciplines, from the stabilisation of a slope with ground anchors and soil nails and the installation of a steel sheet or king post wall, to the driving of a precast concrete pile and the filling of an abandoned coal mine with drilling and grouting. Soon, the new application will allow Aarsleff's existing customers and potential clients to understand the process on site. The benefits are hoped to be three-fold - the customer's confidence in the product should increase, as should they feel part of its production process, new employees can benefit from an engaging induction and existing staff members can be inspired by exemplary experiences within the workplace.
"In embracing VR, we also hope to tackle the challenge that ‘young people are not interested in construction' by rolling out the virtual application at careers fairs and university shows," said Kevin Hague, managing director. "Students and aspiring engineers will be able to walk around on an Aarsleff site, helping them to understand several ground engineering disciplines and learn about the machinery operated on site - all whilst in a safe and engaging way."
Aarsleff's marketing and communications manager, Jessica Banham, added: "The possibilities of VR are endless, and it's really important that we engage with it now. We're utilising the technology internally first to bring a new dimension into our estimating process. However, we envisage the technology being used for company marketing, Health and Safety inductions, site training and other applications in the near future. Watch this space."