Robotics will be integrated into the construction industry in the near future. Robotics can take a variety of shapes and forms including exoskeletons that enhance human strength, fully functional arms that can perform precise operations such as welding and drilling, and perhaps, someday, even robotic humanoids that can be piloted from a distance by a human controller. And although construction professionals are concerned that introducing robotics to the project site could have a negative effect on people’s jobs, a growing skills gap and labor shortage ensure that robotics complement what is left of a dwindling construction industry.
In part one of this four-part series, the Miami construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law introduced the Japanese construction company, Shimizu, and their work in robotics aimed at combating an aging industry. In addition, we examined the infrastructure needed to incorporate robotics on the project site and denied the misconception that robots will take away jobs. In parts two and three, we will take a look at some of Shimizu’s robots in action before exploring a BBC report about a construction worker from Japan who believes robots are the answer to the construction industry’s long-standing labor woes in part four.
Robo-Carrier, one of Shimizu’s robots being field tested in Japan, is an efficient robotic lift that can transport materials from one location to another. It is currently being tested on a high-rise development in Osaka. Currently, it’s primary function is transporting heavy gypsum board pallets from one location to another. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a particularly exciting development, but Robo-Carrier does something no human worker can—it works through the night to prepare materials and ensure that they are where they need to be when workers return to the project site the following morning. As we mentioned in part one, 5G mobile technology will allow robots to communicate effectively while on the project site. This allows multiple Robo-Carriers to coordinate their tasks to get jobs done more efficiently, saving contractors time and money. Plus, Robo-Carrier’s sensors allow it to recognize and avoid obstructions on the project site for truly uninterrupted productivity.
Shimizu’s plans for robotics don’t end with Robo-Carrier. Robo-Welder is another robot that can be utilized on the construction site. This robot utilizes two separate robots working in sync to weld columns symmetrically. Robo-Welder requires no human support to operate. It is a completely automated system that streamlines the process of welding and eliminates factors like human error or injury. By using lasers to measure the size and shape of objects, Robo-Welder can recognize the contour of an object and weld it accordingly.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.