While the global construction industry has witnessed some major developments in the field of automation, its adoption on a wider scale has been far from promising. In the times of the pandemic, when it is crucial to remotely manage on-site labourers while ensuring strict adherence to mandatory health checks as well as adequate social distancing at all times, the speedy adaption of AI and Robotics in the construction industry seems inevitable.
A full-scale deployment of robots at the construction site may not be on the cards for the foreseeable future, but there are certain aspects of the work where we will soon witness a greater influx of robots on-site. These primarily include – Drones, Material Placing Robots, Automation of Mould Creation, Rebar Tying, Prefabrication Construction and more.
Drones are being developed to offer multiple services such as power line inspection, fire safety, tracking project progress, coordinating the movement of onsite craftsmen and labourers, and enabling the movement of heavy machinery. On the other hand, material-placing robots are being designed such that they can easily, and more efficiently handle labour-intensive tasks such as laying bricks and moving the necessary tools. 3D printing technology that is now being widely used for prefabrication can be easily used to reduce the need for extensive manpower. Similarly, the number of hours expended in creating concrete moulds, tying rebars can be compressed using automation and robotics.
In fact, we can now deploy rovers that can be of immense assistance to on-site workers by simply carrying around the requisite tools and materials, thereby reducing the travel time of the workers, while also enhancing their productivity. Companies like Trimble are collaborating with Boston Dynamics to use robots for routine tasks in hazardous construction environments to improve safety, efficiency, and consistent data capture.
The need for human safety and limiting human interaction has never been as pressing as it has become today; and wider adoption of technology can help do just that. From minimising labour and largely reducing human interaction to improved safety and sustainability; from enhanced quality and precision of construction to improved speeds and efficiency, automation and robotics will change the face of construction as we know it.