Digital disruption within the construction industry is a topic of broad interest right now, with players from around the world trying to solve the industry's most complex problems. As a result, we are seeing an influx of startups and technology companies approaching the industry with a wide array of advanced solutions and tools to help tackle efficiency, safety, quality, and budget issues. Stemming from these efforts, we see innovative software platforms offering robust project management tools, featuring insights into project metrics that previously were out of reach. In addition, we are now seeing construction robotics appearing on jobsites around the globe.
The industry has also seen a rapid advancement in hardware available to project teams, with the cost of 360 cameras and 3D laser scanners dropping significantly. Alongside this advancement in the construction technology space, one development stands out as being particularly game-changing; Construction Robotics and its applications in the field.
Construction Robotics on the Jobsite
Robotics in the construction industry is not an entirely new concept, with advancements in manufacturing, prefabrication, and logistics in the last few decades. However, perhaps one of the most disruptive advancements we see in the industry is deploying robotics on construction jobsites tasked with highly repetitive, dangerous, or tedious tasks. Construction robotics's capabilities include:
- Building walls.
- Operating autonomous equipment.
- Using imaging technology.
- Remotely operated to minimize staff on the jobsite.
In addition, construction robotics are being used for surveying, surveillance, and inspection.
A few unique technologies that are helping shape this space are:
The Dusty Robotics team is developing tools to automate the construction layout process. Their product aims to increase efficiency and accuracy in laying out architectural plans and mechanical elements before installation. Increased accuracy in this realm can reduce rework from inaccurately installed building elements and save time and resources as the traditional process is highly manual and labor-intensive.
The Boston Dynamics team has built up Spot, their autonomous jobsite robot that can host various payloads to service jobsite tasks, including laser scanners and 360 cameras for automated site documentation. Taking the field capture work off the plate of field staff will allow project teams to allocate their resources to more critical project management tasks.
The Canvas team has revealed a construction robot capable of elevating speed and quality with skilled site workers in the drywall finishing process. As a result, Canvas delivers a higher level of consistency in wall finish in automating this highly repetitive task across large-scale projects.
Robotics in Reality Capture:
Robotics implemented in Reality Capture workflows, whether it be drones capturing 360 site photographs, or the Boston Dynamics Spot robot traversing the site with a laser scanner, have been some of the most exciting advancements in this space.
When partnered with the right applications, these autonomous site capture technologies offer a wide range of benefits, from increased productivity, safety outcomes, and even overall project outcomes. For example, see the Swinerton case study, where autonomous site capture has been paired with the Avvir platform to automate the analysis of work in place against the BIM model to track costs, schedule, and quality. In addition, such applications reduce the overhead hours typically allocated to tasks like scanning and site documentation, allowing project teams to focus on more critical tasks to keep their project on track.
Advancing Construction with Robotics
As the construction market evolves and grows alongside new technological innovations, robots could soon become commonplace on our job sites. As a result, general contractors and developers alike are starting to lean into the technology and startup space more aggressively, running partnerships and pilot programs across their portfolios to test new solutions and evaluate their outcomes.
Construction Robotics in the field offers considerable advancement in efficiency and safety protocols as robots can perform tedious, repetitive, and dangerous tasks, allowing site personnel to focus on the bigger picture and keep their projects on track. Additionally, utilizing robotics to monitor and record your jobsite conditions continuously offers insights into project status, progress, and quality that has never before been available. When paired with a platform like Avvir, this information can be contextualized, shared across your project team, and, most importantly, actionable. Leveraging Construction Robotics in the field stands out as a significant leap in the automation of our construction jobsites.
You can read more about this topic by downloading our new white paper "5 Ways Construction Robotics are Changing Jobsites"
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