Industry Disruptors: Digitization to Modern AI

Recently, we found a 1995 Engineering Times article in our archive with a note from Sain’s founder to distribute the article amongst the staff. The article, “No Easy Answers for Sealing Partial Plans” by Molly Galvin, provided timely insight into using an engineer’s seal during the rising usage of digital CADD files.

The article urged Professional Engineers to be cautious when using seals on digital documents. Back in 1995, an electronic file with an engineer’s seal and date could easily fall victim to unauthorized changes that were difficult to detect. Today, engineers largely operate digitally, and there is a new industry disruptor: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI technology has evolved at an unprecedented pace! Big data and AI-powered analytics have transformed the decision-making process in the engineering industry. We now have access to sophisticated data analysis tools that can process large, sometimes incomplete, datasets in less time than a human.

AI in Transportation Engineering

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) integrate AI technologies into various aspects of transportation infrastructure. They can optimize toll collection systems, manage traffic incident responses, and enhance the efficiency of public transportation networks. We can use AI to predict traffic patterns by analyzing historical traffic data, weather conditions, events, and other relevant factors to forecast traffic volumes and congestion hotspots. This valuable information can allow us to adjust signal timings, provide alternative routes, or optimize public transportation schedules to mitigate congestion before it occurs.

As the development of autonomous vehicles progresses, AI plays a vital role in ensuring their safe and efficient integration into the existing traffic ecosystem. AI algorithms allow autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other and with traffic management systems, facilitating coordinated decision-making and optimizing traffic flow.

AI in the Workplace

The rise of AI-powered collaboration platforms and virtual workspaces has revolutionized how we can interact and share information. Real-time collaboration tools, document-sharing platforms, and AI-driven chatbots have improved communication efficiency, enabling us to work seamlessly together despite geographical barriers.


With the increasing use of AI in engineering, ethical concerns such as bias, privacy, and accountability have gained prominence. Engineers must navigate these challenges by ensuring transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI systems. Incorporating ethical frameworks and guidelines into AI development is crucial to ensure responsible and ethical engineering practices.

As the use of AI in civil engineering expands, our industry must clarify new rules for the role of design professionals who are in responsible charge of projects. There is no doubt that many of the questions currently unresolved, like who bears the liability for a design flaw in an AI generated design, will ultimately be decided by the courts. Right now, professional engineers are wise to learn all they can about AI applications for engineering and stay abreast of rulemaking from their governing state board of licensure.

We have come a long way since the early stages of sealing digital design files. As technology continues to evolve, we must embrace these advancements with caution and wisdom and continue to address the associated ethical considerations. Doing so ensures a future where AI and engineering work hand-in-hand to overcome challenges and drive innovation.