On US construction sites, bulldozers and excavators are operating with no humans at the controls. This construction machinery is autonomous, and is made by a company that plans to expands to Canada—and, hopefully, we also will see this groundbreaking machinery in Australia someday.

These robots, said Erol Ahmed, the director of communications with Built Robotics, works excellently in remote regions with less labour.

Construction sites in Canada feature self-driving heavy machinery, four-legged robots, etc.—with the common goal of each machine being efficiency, safety and labour force replenishment.

Canada’s construction industry must recruit more than 307,000 new workers in the next 10 years, says a report by BuildForce Canada earlier this year. BuildForce is an organisation that examines the building industry and puts together future labour forecasts.

The Canadian Construction Association has high hopes for the potential use of robotic technology at worksites.

The programming and repairs of robotics is going to open a new field, one sure to draw a new generation of workers to the industry, said Mary Van Buren, president of the association.

She stated that technology like self-driving vehicles could be of aid, a shortage of truck drivers to deliver building materials to worksites.

While an operational self-driving car hasn’t been introduced, Built Robotics has placed its robots on construction sites.

This is due to the fact that a work site is a controlled environment, and robot machines can be programmed to clear land, said Ahmed, while a self-driving auto would be forced to cope with more uncontrollable variables on a public street.

Robotics, he said, are not tools of the future, but of the present in terms of their commercial applications.

Built Robotics morphs heavy building equipment into self-driving autonomous robots that dig trenches, plow and compact soil.

The company adapts conventional construction equipment into autonomous vehicles by integrating artificial intelligence. The AI is equipped with sensors featuring cameras and GPS. The AI is plugged into the machine’s hydraulic system to facilitate operation.

The machines are safeguards for construction workers, taking their places in potentially risky areas. Ahmed stated that the robots perform well at mundane, repetitive jobs, and that frees human labourers to perform more complex tasks.

The robots enhance productivity because they can be operated for lengthy periods of time without requiring down time.

A Canadian construction company has entered the robotics field. Pomerleau, based in Quebec, has leased a pair of Spot robots from Boston Dynamics, a global leader in the field.

The Spot robot is a brilliant gold-coloured four-legged robot outfitted with many cameras and sensors, and is known—as its name would indicate–a robot dog.

Pomerleau ‘walks’ Spot across work sites to assess the speed of the work. The robot records the quantity of drywall that has been installed or the amount of concrete that has been poured.

That info can aid the company in estimating the length of time required to complete a job and the cost of this completion.

That information helps contractors prepare for projects better and avoid delays—thus increasing the economic efficiency of the project as a whole.

The Boston Dynamics website indicated that Pomerleau saved about 20 hours weekly by employing Spot, and that the robot captured almost 5,000 images weekly. What it won’t take is anyone’s job, stated Brian Ringley, Boston Dynamics’ construction technology manager. It still takes a human being to do many construction jobs.

Boston Dynamics has put about 300 Spot robots to work for many patrons, with dozens of general contractors utilising the machine.

Built Robotics assesses a monthly fee for the usage of the technology that renders heavy machinery autonomous. Users also are charged a fee for the number of hours the machines run autonomously.

A base Spot robot carries a cost—but many say that the price is worth it. And with any luck, Spot will be walked across Australian worksites sometime in 2021.

 

Source: CBC