How Long Will It Be Before Robots Build Everything?

By on November 7, 2018

From Trimble’s Constructible:  When humans talked about robots 20 years ago, it was mostly still the stuff of imagination. Back then, we could barely envision a world where robots could effectively complete tasks that were previously the sole domain of humans.

But, fast-forward to 2018 and those visions are becoming more of a reality every day. That reality has less to do with the robot applications we’ve seen in movies, however, and more to do with the roles robots can effectively fill to move industries forward. As technology and AI progress, virtually no industry has been left untouched. Construction is no exception. Recently we’ve seen robotic technologies infiltrate the construction of all sorts of things. These advancements beg the question: How long will it be before robots build everything?

The short answer is: probably a long time. But let’s take a look at some of the most meaningful ways robotic technology is making inroads into the construction of all sorts of things today, and whether or not we actually need to worry about a time in the future when humans will be expendable in this industry.

There are already countless different aspects of construction where technology can play a meaningful role. For instance, BIM software and virtual-reality applications are already helping project managers visualize and plan the details of construction projects long before they come to fruition. These tools can even identify issues that will save money in the long run and can also help increase safety and minimize project risk.

Where is robotics making headway?

While planning and oversight have been immersed in technology, we’ve only recently seen progress in terms of specific tasks that robots can perform with anything approaching commercially viable practicality. Case in point, Auburn University in Alabama this summer became the first to use robotics in masonry as part of the construction of its new Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center. SAM100 (the name stands for “semi-automated mason”) can lay 3,000 bricks per day via a conveyor belt and arm, working alongside human masons. The university worked with C&C Masonry, which leased the robot for the project.

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