Artificial intelligence meets human intelligence in Gauteng’s drone project
The Gauteng department of infrastructure development has launched a programme using drones to monitor the progress of projects across the province.
The initiative — launched in Etwatwa‚ Ekurhuleni‚ on Monday — uses drones in tandem with the nerve centre of the department‚ called Lutsinga Infrastructure House.
It combines human intelligence‚ business intelligence and now also artificial intelligence to ensure that the entire value chain of project delivery is efficient and that projects are delivered in time‚ within cost and at the right quality.
"It is possible for the public sector to be efficient and to be productive in what we do and that is exactly what we are demonstrating today. One of the things that we have looked at is that globally infrastructure performance is lagging behind other industries. Therefore over the past two years we’ve been working hard to introduce efficiencies across the value chain of development‚" said infrastructure development MEC Jacob Mamabolo.
Through the drone project‚ the department ensures that construction work is done in line with work schedules.
The drone also helps in the monitoring of safety compliance on construction sites to ensure that it meets health standards. The programme allows the department to identify blockages in the delivery of construction projects so that it can visit sites‚ troubleshoot and intervene to improve project management performance and productivity.
Drones have been piloted by the department since early January this year.
Over the next three years‚ the Gauteng department of infrastructure development has committed to delivering 340 projects valued at about R4.5bn "on time‚ within cost and at the right quality".
Earlier this month‚ the department publicly unveiled a three-year portfolio of all its community infrastructure projects‚ including new schools‚ libraries‚ clinics‚ licensing centres and community centres‚ following two years of behind-the-scenes planning to manage its vast and complex projects.
The project pipeline will be used to prioritise projects which are ready for implementation for tracking and monitoring to improve project management processes as well as to speed up delivery to Gauteng communities.
The department will also be able to improve its reporting by ensuring that all information is gathered from one source. Most importantly‚ the monitoring of project performance will further enable the department to proactively manage compliance issues in other spheres of government‚ such as local municipalities.
Mamabolo said that the department used the "project pipeline", which classifies projects in three categories — platinum for projects to be implemented in the 2018/19 financial year‚ silver for 2019/20 and coal for projects that will be completed in the 2020/21 financial year.
"The project pipeline will also become an early warning system and will improve our speed of delivering projects to communities‚ as well as improving project management efficiencies."
It also forms part of a major turnaround initiative to standardise its project management approach through the use of smart technologies to manage data from one source through the establishment of the Lutsinga nerve centre.