AR/VR Training for Infrastructure (Code) Inspectors

Austin, TX
Texas State University




Procurement Method:

University Partner:

Texas State University

Partnership Description

The City of Austin will be working with a team from Texas State University including Scott Smith (Associate Professor and Director of the Virtual Reality and Technology Lab), George Koutitas (Assistant Professor), and Grayson Lawrence (Associate Professor). The team will be working with the city to develop and design a virtual reality training module for their infrastructure (code) inspectors, including testing and evaluating the efficiency and impact of the module. This research aids the city in its effort to accelerate the inspection process. Read more about the research team’s work here:


The Code Department of the City Austin is seeking lower cost, scalable, repeatable and virtual solution to improve the training of for our city infrastructure inspectors.



COVID-19 has forced many people to work remotely, including the city staff responsible for inspecting a community's infrastructure as well as private buildings.  The City of Austin is experimenting with using AI to more efficiently inspect publicly visible infrastructure so that its staff members can perform more timely inspections of private property and buildings. 

The AI uses data collected via lidar and other cameras on city vehicles while on duty. The AI machines are trained when real inspectors identify code violations in the images.   

In normal times there is a large backlog of tasks for code inspectors. Property owners or developers can wait a long time to get an inspection. The City of Austin is interested in testing if we use AI to accelerate the process by carrying out virtual inspections or have virtual training. 


  • Code inspectors
  • City staff
  • Building & Safety Department
  • Building developers
  • Fire department inspectors
  • Property owners


  • Delay in project inspections
  • Loss of revenue from inspections
  • Fewer inspections per month
  • Dangerous infrastructure discovered late

Current training for code inspectors is with PDFs, PPTs, and on-site.  It is expensive, not scalable, and has problems in terms of its repeatability.

The research team will have access to the following resources:

  • Current metrics
  • Department manuals
  • Code, Fire, Transportation, Energy Department (essentially any department
  • Legal
  • Technology department
  • Urban design, planning & zoning department
  • Housing department
  • Existing policies, training materials, including videos of an inspector's walkthrough

Requirements & Outcomes


The city of Austin would like to achieve the following outcomes: 

In the short term:

  • design/choose hypotheses to test
  • choose success metrics
  • implement initial training sessions
  • Code and similar departments are enthusiastic about this training
  • short term training results
  • positive user experience during training

In the long term:

  • More inspections per month
  • Shorter times to each inspection.
  • Less paperwork.
  • Increase in morale among inspectors
  • Transparency on process and results
  • Quantifiable metrics on the impact of our effort


STIR Labs Research Challenges Published

Learn how you can tackle the challenges at our informational webinar