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Robots Build Everything: How Far from Reality?

Construction Tech Review | Wednesday, May 22, 2019

FREMONT, CA: Robots and robot-centric progress have paced up in the last two decades. Robots could not complete simple tasks in the past. However, the decades of effort by dedicated professionals and other enthusiasts have finally resulted in their use cases, especially for the enterprises. Robotics led technologies are increasingly contributing to the construction industry. But it’s still a long way when robots can build everything.

Focusing on the current potential of robots, there are a few commercially viable tasks that robots can perform. For instance, Auburn University in Alabama used robotics in masonry and became the first to do so in the construction of its new Performing Arts Centre. The semi-automated mason (SAM100) can deploy 3000 bricks through a conveyor belt per day. However, there are limitations to SAM as it cannot do offsets or work around corners, thereby depicting its narrow range of use cases. Mostly, the automated systems deployed in the industries have project-specific limitations. 

Accepting and Overcoming the Limitations

Exoskeletons are probably the closest robotic-looking technology in construction. These skeletal frameworks are fitted to synchronize with the natural body movements of a human while enabling him to deal with heavy loads with significantly less effort. The suit also reduces injuries to the worker and enhances the longevity of his career. 

Though the exosuits are just a fundamental step toward a robot-exclusive future, they are certainly a positive sign. 

Where are the Robot Led Construction Headed?

Other real-world uses cases where automation is gaining traction in the construction industry includes 3D printing, digital twin technology, modularization and robotics, AI and analytics, and supply chain processes. Though 3D printing, digital twin technology, and modularization and robotics are expected to lead the way, improvement in Artificial Intelligence in construction will also have a modest effect in the immediate future.

According to the Construction Robotics Market Report, Europe and North America leads the construction robotics market. The organization also valued the construction robotics market at $200 million in 2017 and expects the figure to reach up to $450 million by 2025.

The day when robots replace humans absolutely in construction may be far off, but there is still a huge potential that will be leveraged from the robots shortly with prime focus on speed, efficiency, and safety.

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