Andy Garcia, Senior Project Manager at March Construction, shares his thoughts on the future of self-driving vehicles and autonomous machines in construction.
Self-driving vehicles seem to be grabbing all of the headlines these days; but many believe that Artificial Intelligence machines AKA “robots” may be seen on construction sites in even greater numbers than the roadways, shortly.
Now legal in 22 states and growing, driverless cars are expected to be available for purchase as early as 2019 for taxis and 2021 for general purchase. Not just cars, but also automated busses, trains, and trucks—that includes construction fleets.
“When it comes to adopting technology, heavy equipment tends to follow the automotive sector by about 10 years,” explains Tudor Van Hampton, managing editor of construction-industry publication Engineering News-Record. Source
Who doesn’t want or already have a Rumba or robotic pool cleaner? How about one that will help build your construction site? One of the biggest problems in construction currently is the lack of workers in certain skilled trades.
For example, take the task of tying rebar that forms the skeleton of concrete buildings and bridges. It requires skill and long hours of bending over and wrapping.
There is now an autonomous robot named “TyBot” which includes a robotic claw attached to a sliding gantry that can tie rebar in half the time of a skilled trade laborer.
Masonry installation is another labor-intensive, skilled trade that will soon benefit from A.I. / robotics.
The SAM100 is an automated masonry installation machine. This machine can roll back and forth along the sides of a building, using a robotic arm to grab bricks, apply mortar, and place the bricks in laser-guided rows with extreme precision and speed.
Yes—the new age of Artificial Intelligence and robotics in construction is here and will continue to advance at a lighting pace. This includes self-driving trucks, A.I. robotics, and remotely-operated machinery. It will improve safety, increase productivity and efficiency.
Saying, “Alexa—Build me a wall!” on the job may not be so far-fetched!