We’re always keeping an eye out for the technology that continues to transform the construction and dirt moving industries. We are constantly trying to understand how digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, robotics, and machine control benefit contractors. By looking ahead and anticipating their impact, you’re better prepared and more able to adapt.
Forbes.com recently published a three-part series written by Charles Towers-Clark that addresses a number of issues relating to the impact of technology on the construction industry.
Part one is titled, “Robotics Can Solve The Construction Skills Shortage—If Handled Properly.” As the title suggests, Towers-Clark writes about the skilled worker shortage and how new software can overcome these particular problems.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Robotics in construction then is augmenting human labor by “giving the site manager extra abilities that they didn't have before,” says Maggs, but it is also enhancing the digitization already within the industry, feeding much more granular data into more detailed models. As Maggs puts it, “we either innovate and bring in new abilities or the industry just stagnates and employment becomes even more of an issue.”
Part two is “Construction Co-bots Need To Be Smarter, More Adaptive.” This is where Towers-Clark explains how “true autonomy might be achieved” on an actual construction site.
The utility of traditional industrial robots or robotic arms has been proven over the years, but with an increasingly digitized working environment and severe skills shortages—particularly in manual industries such as construction—more competent and independent automation is needed to keep up with the pace of innovation.
Finally in part three, “Assembly Required: Construction Is The New Manufacturing,” Towers-Clark wraps up with how construction can be transformed if it follows the manufacturing model.
From being a fragmented, disjointed industry known for horrific working conditions, the manufacturing industry has become a consolidated, efficient machine, with seamless production processes and integration between departments. This is, of course, thanks to data that connects every part of the chain, from original 3D models through to warehousing and delivery. This sort of uninterrupted data flow could transform the construction industry massively, bringing about the same kind of sea change seen in manufacturing and bringing the industry wholly into the 21st century.
It’s an insightful series that doesn’t paint a completely “rosy” picture of the technological future of construction. There will be pitfalls and struggles. But as the technology evolves, and if we can adapt accordingly, the picture will eventually come into sharp focus.