There is no doubt that technology is impacting the work of people on site more now than ever. This change and future advancements due to robotic technology has the potential to change the work and salary structures of workers even more in the future. This transformative effect is a trend that is likely to continue.
In the article “Bots on the job: The past, present and future of robotic builders,” Jean Thilmany talks about the automated technology that is already in use on the construction job site through the development of the next generation of programmed helpers in the field. Robotics is helping to pave the way for future builders by showing the technology’s potential to aid productivity and eliminate rework.
Also, technology companies are beginning to overcome plenty of construction obstacles including materials, mobility, weather, and height through 3D Printing. A sophisticated method called “Crane Printing” is featured in the article “World’s First 3D Printed Skyscraper to be Built in Dubai.” The ground-breaking technology simply involves retrofitting an existing crane with a 3d printing apparatus. These devices will be installed on cranes that can reach as high as 262 feet (80m).
It is also interesting to note the predictions of the international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, in their report “Innovation 2050: A Digital Future for the Infrastructure Industry”. Apart from robots taking over the majority of roles including automated builders, robotic cranes, and drones to scan sites, the report adds that the only humans that the firm sees being onsite are those wearing ‘robotically enhanced exoskeletons’ that control machinery. The role of the human overseer will be to remotely manage multiple projects simultaneously, accessing 3D and 4D visuals and data from the on-site machines, ensuring the build is proceeding to specification.
Balfour Beatty’s ten predictions for 2050 are:
- The industry will become increasingly focused on innovation and both contractors and customers will become less risk-averse.
- The shape and offer of the infrastructure industry will change significantly, with new business models, products and services.
- Infrastructure will move on from concrete and steel to include new materials which respond to their surroundings.
- New jobs and industries will be created – and some will disappear, especially low or zero skill roles and those relying on repetition of tasks.
- Thinking only about design and construction will become an outdated concept as infrastructure becomes multi-functional.
- Robots will become more prevalent in construction.
- Construction will get faster, using 3D and 4D printing, and self-transforming objects which self-assemble.
- New, disruptive ideas will emerge, for making mass transit faster, safer and less damaging to the environment.
- We will increasingly use wearable technology such as exoskeletons.
- Direct neural control over devices and vehicles will be accessible to the industry.
Balfour Beatty have produced a short video indicating what their beliefs are on other coming technologies and their impact.
Soon enough, the construction industry may be a truly digitally empowered business, with work moved off-site, remote control of machinery, and new materials and techniques utilised to improve cost, safety and efficiency.
On a lighter side, check out this video which features more dancing robots than you’ve ever seen in your life. WL Intelligent Technology Co. Ltd in China has just broken the Guinness World Records title for the Most robots dancing simultaneously. Taking place in Guangzhou, Guangdong, a jaw-dropping 1,069 synchronised machines were lined up and performed a perfectly choreographed dance routine for the attempt. Well, almost perfect – a few of the robots fell down during the dynamic show, and these had to be deducted from the final record total. The robots – which are named ‘Dobi’ – were all programmed via one group control system.