I’ve covered robotics becoming a larger portion of construction in blogs past, however never in a manner quite as interesting as this. I recently found Construction Dive’s coverage of the construction robot dog – complete with 3D vision and 17 joints, ready to navigate any site’s obstructions. A firm responsible for the production of a few different robotic models, Boston Dynamics, has released SpotMini—a development that evolved through work towards a humanoid bot. Aside from vision allowing video and photo footage being captured, the SpotMini is capable of picking up and handling objects with few limitations. Currently, the company is on pace to produce about 1,000 units/year by the end of 2019.
With conversations of the construction skilled labor shortage mounting, this all-electric option has some nice potential to offset any lack of manpower. A recent inverse.com article describes a recent video released by Boston Dynamics showcasing its mobility. “The robot is seen walking around a construction site for Takenaka Corp. in Tokyo; it goes up stairs, makes turns, and avoids obstacles on its own, stopping every so often to scan the area. It navigates obstacles like window holes raised off the floor, orange cones, and steel beams. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert announced in July that he would like SpotMini to be used in four industries: construction, delivery, security, and home assistance. This video seems to put out which industry Boston Dynamics thinks it can grow the fastest.”
Link to video footage: https://www.inverse.com/article/49850-spotmini-construction-site-video?jwsource=cl
From a machine learning perspective, many experts make the argument that this will be the basis of how all work will be performed in the future. For construction in particular, teams are able to operate safer and more efficiently through streamlined activities that don’t have downtime or error. If any component of the process has an error, systems alert the operator and it can be resolved much quicker. AI-driven solutions are powering heavy equipment on-site in real time, and it’s creating better project timelines and outcomes.
In comparison to humans, robots are capable of laying six times as many bricks per day. A company out of New York, Construction Robotics, recently made a robot named SAM (semi-automated mason), that has output potential of laying 3,000 bricks per day. Although the robot has the ability to help building projects move along rapidly, it still requires some intense supervision to make sure it’s properly set up, compliant with OSHA, and ready for complex angles.