We are entering the era of robotics and AI (artificial intelligence), where machines can help make decisions about work being done on construction jobsites, while also taking some of the back-breaking tasks off workers. A historically labor-intensive industry, robotics offer an opportunity to help automate projects and heighten productivity.
New research points to growth in construction robotics specifically. Tractica suggests that the market will reach $226 million worldwide by 2025, with a growing number of construction companies leveraging robots to solve labor shortages and speed up construction tasks. The largest market in terms of unit shipments will be for robot assistants used on construction sites, followed by infrastructure robots, structure robots, and finishing robots.
Naturally, one of the most obvious opportunities for robotics in construction is using machines to do labor-intensive work. Think bricklaying machines, which already exist today. However, Tractica forecasts that more than 7,000 construction robots will be deployed to address a variety of construction and demolition tasks by 2025.
Here’s one example: AMP Robotics recently launched a dual-robot system focused on material recovery in a number of spaces including construction and demolition. It is guided by the AMP Neuron AI platform and uses robots to sort, pick, and place materials. Leveraging computer vision and machine learning, it can direct the robots to pick and place targeted materials.
For a robot to be truly effective, it needs the intelligence to help guide it. In many cases, early adopter construction companies are already recognizing this and are implementing AI to monitor projects. Such is the case with Fluor Corp., which announced late last year that it is using an AI-based system to predict, monitor, and measure the status of EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) megaprojects. The technology helps to form the foundation for analytics to help predict critical project outcomes and provide early insights into the health of the projects.
While it isn’t necessarily using robotics, the AI is foundational for any large, complex capital project that has a huge amount of data that needs to be managed. Being able to harness the data in a way that can be easily understood is critical to moving infrastructure projects forward.
As more projects begin to tap into AI—and soon robotics—construction companies will have an opportunity to improve productivity on jobsites. It is only a matter of time before machines start performing tasks. In fact, if Tractica predictions are true, it is only a matter of six years before there are 7,000 robots on jobsites, performing tasks. Get ready. The age of robotics and AI for construction is coming.
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