The construction sector has lagged behind in the automation of its services as it continues to rely heavily on manual labor. The use of robots in the construction industry is still very low with many tasks such as construction, demolition or repairs still being carried out by human laborers with the help of simple tools. Robot manufacturers are however focused on developing robots to be used in the construction industry and this might change how construction is carried out.
Automation of tasks by use of robots is possible where there is a set of repetitive activities being carried out. Each and every construction job has its own unique specifications which makes it very hard to use robots to carry out construction tasks. To be able to develop robots for use at the construction site, developers need to design robots that are able to analyze their immediate environment and react accordingly. Some of the construction robots that will surely revolutionize the industry include;
· 3D robotic printer
This involves the use of a robotic arm to control a 3D printer which can print out an entire building that is safe for use. Its usage has also been extended to the construction of structures such as bridges. This technology reduces the total duration that it could take to come up with an entire structure. It also serves to eliminate construction errors which might lead to deaths as a result of a faulty building.
· Masonry robots
Masonry robots are being used to help construction workers in the process of laying bricks. Working together with a conveyer belt which transports the bricks from one point to another, the robot places a brick at a time as a construction worker moves behinds it and joins the layer together with cement. They do the hard work while letting the workers to focus on crucial tasks where they can apply their skills best.
· Demolition robots
Demolition of faulty buildings poses a threat to the workers carrying out the demolition process. Demolition robots have come in to carry out the process of demolition at a faster rate while boosting the safety of the workers. They also help to reduce the cost associated with hiring a pool of workers to bring down a building.
· Autonomous vehicles
Autonomous vehicles applied in the construction industry are developed using the technology used to make self-drive cars. The autonomous vehicles have lasers and sensors which enable them to map out the construction site for easier movement. They are mainly used to move various construction materials within the site. They reduce the amount of tedious work imposed on the workers allowing them to focus on other important tasks at the construction site. This helps to increase the overall productivity of the workers as they are not fatigued from lifting and carrying heavy objects. The vehicles can be fitted with lightweight arms such as the ones manufactured by www.universal-robots.com which have the capability to use vision sensors to identify the materials needed depending on their size and shape and load them on the vehicle.
· Monitoring robots
These robots make use of artificial intelligence to get real time updates on the progress made at the construction site. This is made possible by the use of drones equipped with advanced camera technology that take photographs within the construction site. The AI is then able to compare the data against the set plans of the structure being constructed and determine the degree of completion achieved. On top of enabling one to see the amount of work done in a day, it enables the investors to monitor the construction from any part of the world.
· Robotic excavators
Robot manufacturers have come up with a self-driving excavator which makes use of satellite information of the area and the construction design to excavate the site. They carry out the repetitive and monotonous tasks at a safer and faster rate than human laborers.