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Insights The impact of artificial intelligence on the engineering sector

 It is estimated that 90% of leading businesses have invested in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in some capacity. However, less than 15% of these organisations are currently deploying AI in their work setup. In the engineering sector, AI is one of the fastest-growing technologies. While there has always been some concern that AI would eliminate some jobs, the current reality is that emerging technology is opening up a wealth of opportunities for engineering talent.

With this in mind, here are three ways AI is set to shape the future of engineering:

Specialist skills are desirable

With AI and robotics able to handle many low-level skills, this allows specialist engineers to shine with their expertise. With this in mind, organisations are looking for engineering talent who have specific and specialist skills that are hard to find. For engineers looking to upskill, it can be well worth training in a specialist area you are most fascinated by and using this expertise to work alongside AI.

In the past, it was thought that AI would work to replace humans in the workplace. What organisations are seeing is AI creating more opportunities for experts and developing a highly-skilled workforce. Furthermore, engineering roles now focus more on value-adding activities, as automation and AI can now complete the foundational and repetitive tasks, making engineering careers much more dynamic and fulfilling.

In 2022 one of the most in-demand engineering skills is machine learning. Training in this field can offer many advantages to engineers. With engineers having an incredible ability to solve complex problems, discovering how to integrate AI into processes is already an in-demand skill.

Expanding opportunities with machine learning

AtkinsRéalis has already reported on the exciting potential of machine learning in the construction sector. However, machine learning is set to be widespread across every engineering sector.

For example, in electrical engineering, machine learning is being put to use in terms of signal processing. The machine learning ability to detect meaningful patterns can help engineers deliver the precise adjustments needed, which can deliver lifesaving and life-changing capabilities.

In-car production, machine learning is being used to identify and clear faults on the production line. Complex algorithms enable robots to detect and identify any faults they witness and then offer the predefined outcomes set to solve the problems on the production line with minimal human interaction.

The ability to detect, identify and resolve issues is something that has enormous potential across the engineering world. Already, we are seeing whole developments becoming 'smartcities' thanks to machine learning which aims to improve quality of life through optimised emergency responses and automatic traffic safety.

If we consider that more and more regions worldwide will want to adopt a 'smart city' approach, then the demand for AI-ready engineers is set to increase.

Big data potential

Another in-demand skill for the next decade is data analysis. Big data is set to be a considerable part of the engineering sector, and there is now a growth in the number of data engineering roles, with a 50% year-on-year increase.

While there are AI systems in place that can help collate and make use of big data, it still requires the expertise to build and maintain the big data environment that can drive huge operational changes and processes.

From data analysts to engineers, almost every big company across every sector will be looking at how to utilise their vast amounts of data and will need these vital skills to transform the data into valuable, accessible insights.

While big data is creating a demand for data engineers, there is a wider change across the engineering sector. Big data can be used to help improve cost control by identifying patterns of wastage and mapping out past performance history. Similarly, big data will play a part in improving health and safety, where the data can provide insight into the risk potential and even prevent accidents from occurring.

Logistics, asset management, wearable and on-the-job technologies, resource planning and information modelling are all expected to change and improve with the adoption of big data across firms. While some engineers may be working alongside robots at a tangible AI level, others will be utilising AI in their roles to build the industry's future.

Create your engineering future

AtkinsRéalis focuses on designing the future and driving change to build a better world. We're excited by the future of engineering and want to inspire engineers on the endless directions your career can take. From sustainability to AI, meeting today's challenges to predicting future complexities, we're always looking for change-embracing engineers to join us and keep driving the industry forward.

If you're looking for ways to move your mechanical engineering career forward, start by checking AtkinsRéalis 's latest civil engineering vacancies. You can also create a personalised job alert so that you're the first to know of the latest opportunities that AtkinsRéalis has available.

We're always looking for ways to connect with inspiring engineers who may consider a future with AtkinsRéalis . Join our talent community to keep in touch and stay up to date with the latest industry insights.