Over the past few years, technology has been impacting the construction industry like never before. Innovations such as digital twins, Robots, Super Material, Wearable Tech, Pollution eating buildings, and Artificial Intelligence are all paying the way for further improvement in the sector.
New technologies have always eased the workload of people at the construction site. Not surprisingly, the technologies that have emerged in 2019 are also going to shape the industry in the coming year as well. These include Robotics, Ekso Skeletons, Connected job sites, autonomous vehicles, and other advanced materials.
Rapidly moving from science fiction to reality, Robots are beginning to enter the construction industry through multiple areas. From the increase in efficiency of details during site inspections to mechanical arms that automate highly repetitive tasks such as bricklaying and tying rebar; robotics ensure seamless work throughout the tenure. The robotic revolution is set to get a significant pace in 2020. While the credibility of Robots on live construction sites has long been questioned, the year 2019 witnessed a number of real-world trials that delivered surprising results. After witnessing what Robots can do efficiently, the debate has been moved from the credibility of Robots to how best can they be integrated, and the impact on the new job role along with the new skills required as the processes become automated. Building on this, the rise of Artificial Intelligence is also having an impact on construction. From predictive designs of the product at the planning stage to rise of intelligent buildings; the construction sector will likely find itself at the core of wider AI debate taking place across societies in the years ahead. If utilised correctly, the rise of automation could give construction the efficiency, productivity and safety breakthroughs for decades to come.
Originally developed for military use and patient mobility, Ekso Skeletons are beginning to appear on the construction sites. Helping workers to handle injuries manually and the risk of hand-arm vibration, these mechanical suits that augment with human operatives, can also deliver considerable gains in productivity. Already being ad0pted in the manufacturing sectors, live trails on construction sites past year have yielded results that will drive the uptake on Ekso Skeletons in 2020.
The Connected Job sites:
Connected job sites use cloud-based technologies to provide detailed information about every aspect of the overall operation, which is available to all the relevant parties regardless of their availability on-site or elsewhere. From Gio-locations to remote site monitoring, personnel location tracking, live mark-ups and the seamless transfer of build information; connected job sites improve communication, productivity, and safety for everyone involved in the project. Connected Jobsites are going to become more commonplace in 2020.
While autonomous vehicles continue to make headlines in consumer space, their adoption in the construction sector is set to take notable strides in 2020. The automation of construction, particularly emulating to highly-repetitive tasks, can increase productivity and create a safer work environment along with addressing the shortage of labour in the construction industry. In Sweden, Volvo has developed autonomous electric vehicles that carry the material load and have delivered 40 percent improvement in efficiency as compared to a traditional setup.
The construction industry is well-aware of its impact on the environment, and with the growing awareness of the impact, the sector is trying to reduce the carbon footprint. Technological advancements are also bringing numerous new material innovations to the floor in order to reduce the overall carbon footprint. A significant increase in the recycling of hard-to-dispose waste products such as plastic is also becoming common nowadays. Recent development has witnessed the incorporation of waste plastic into roadways and creating 3D printed structures. Co2 is another bi-product being repurposed to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry, at large. Other innovations such as kinetic paving, which generates electricity with the footsteps of the pedestrian’s, and smog-eating buildings coated in photocatalytic titanium dioxide that reacts with light to neutralise pollution in the congested cities.
With development taking place at a fast pace, it would be exciting to see how our future would look like.