Robotics, drones, artificial intelligence and software advancements are developing quickly in the building industry. Sure, when the electric circular saw was invented, it might have reduced the need for some strong arms but the wave of products being developed now are out to replace workers.
Site surveying before and during construction
Drones are being developed that can quickly and accurately map out and measure a site. Further to this, drones can fly over a site multiple times a day during construction to measure progress, calculate stockpiles of materials and vehicle locations. A proof of concept of such a drone:
Fully autonomous excavators are available now. One person can control multiple verhicles from the comfort of an office, anywhere in the world.
Although for the mining industry, it could be applied elsewhere:
There are several bricklaying robots in the works, here’s a video of Sam the robot bricklayer:
This is a machine that renders a brick wall. It looks like this one could use some refining, but it makes a smooth wall in a few minutes:
Prefabrication has been around for a while in different forms. Countries like Japan and Germany are taking it to new levels of automation with almost unmanned factories of robot builders.
A Japanese factory:
The race is on for robotics companies to saturate the construction industry with automation. Through promises of productivity gains, safety benefits and cost saving, managers inside large construction companies bowing to shareholder pressures will no doubt take up what is available.
If you have seen other areas of construction undergoing automation, let us know in the comments below.