Construction Industry Strives to Adapt, Adopt, Reshape

Repost of article by Vicki Speed, original article can be found here https://insideunmannedsystems.com/technology-catch-up-construction-industry-strives-to-adapt-adopt-reshape/.

Drones that tie rebar. Robots that make roadway repairs. Machines that perform earthwork with little or no human intervention. These are just a sampling of the robotic solutions many believe can influence and improve construction performance and safety, as a key part of transforming how the industry works.

In its “Worldwide Robotics and Drones Spending Guide,” International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts a worldwide $128.7 billion in global spending for robotics systems and drones in 2020, with construction taking a good share of the investment lead. Construction robotics spending has a predicted 25.2 percent compound annual growth rate between 2019-2023.

Experts emphasize the need to blend transformation and technology. “We need a modern renaissance that re-defines how we think about the build process,” said John Voeller, an ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) White House Fellow who provided technical advice to Congressional policy makers and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Integration is key to this shift. “Technology is just an enabler,” said Scott Crozier, general manager of Trimble’s Civil Engineering and Construction Division. “In this time of transformation, industry professionals must understand how their business, operations and tools need to connect if we are to reverse decades-long practices and ingrained inefficiencies.”

Again, there’s reason for optimism. According to that McKinsey report, “A combination of sustainability requirements, cost pressure, skills scarcity, new materials, industrial approaches, digitalization and a new breed of player looks set to transform the value chain. Consolidation and internationalization will create the scale needed to allow higher levels of investment in digitalization, R&D and equipment, and sustainability as well as human capital.”

PAYLOADS AND POSSIBILITIES

Drone spending is anticipated to reach $1.4 billion in construction this year alone. While predominantly used to survey sites and perform volume calculations, these flying robots are capable of much more.

On the topic of UAS, White House Fellow Voeller pointed to the need for more advancements, such as 25-pound payload units that can stay aloft for 30-45 minutes, or a drone that can be partnered with a battery rack system that allows the drone to return home, swap batteries without human intervention and then return to its work.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are seeking to establish the framework for developing such next-generation, technology-enhanced solutions. The lab has already used small-scale aerial drones as tools for exploring potential benefits to safety managers within construction jobsites. The CONECTechLab at the School of Building Construction is collaborating with Rotor X and OptimAero on a research program to develop a drone capable of flying five miles carrying a 100-pound load. A version of the drone was tested at Fort Benning, Georgia, earlier this year.

“We see particular value in last-mile logistics on a jobsite,” associate professor Javier Irizarry said. “Instead of forklifts or heavy equipment being used to move tools, materials and supplies, these systems equipped with autonomous navigation could provide near-real-time services.”

Repost of article by Vicki Speed, original article can be found here https://insideunmannedsystems.com/technology-catch-up-construction-industry-strives-to-adapt-adopt-reshape/. Edited to fit this space.