ADSactly Tech News: The Robotic Takeover of Construction and Homebuilding
Robots can do all sorts of things and a new emerging specialty revolves around the ability to lay bricks and essentially build houses.
In addition to robotic contractors there is also a large possibility that homes of the future will be made using state-of-the-art 3d printers.
I remember living through several remodels that my parents commissioned as a teenager. It seems we would always be moving into a house, ripping it to shreds and then rebuilding it only to move into another average house and start all over again. This is the lifestyle of an American teen growing up in the 90s with middle class parents I suppose right?
There is no doubt that robotics is changing the world as we know it. In the past year I've seen and written about amazing developments from burger flipping to exoskeletons to underwater robotic fish and one industry that is seeing a dramatic change is the construction industry which may become one of the largest and most profitable use for modern robotics of the coming century.
A ton of new startups are unleashing an increadibly diverse collection of robots, drones, and software. Construction companies have long faced the problem of not being able to find enough workers but they are in luck considering that we are in a new and modern age of tech marvels and the fact that robots don’t mind getting their hands dirty!
“To get qualified people to handle a loader or a haul truck or even run a plant, they’re hard to find right now,” mining plant manager Mike Moy told the AP. “Nobody wants to get their hands dirty anymore. They want a nice, clean job in an office.”
Employees at a masonry company in Colorado recently learned how to operate a bricklaying robot named SAM, short for Semi-Automated Mason. SAM can lay 3,000 bricks in an eight-hour shift using a conveyer belt and robotic arm. Rather than fearing job loss, however, the workers welcome the opportunity to automate some of their more mundane tasks.
“There are lots of things that SAM isn’t capable of doing that you need skilled bricklayers to do,” said Brian Kennedy of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. “We support anything that supports the masonry industry. We don’t stand in the way of technology.”
Take a minute to see what I'm talking about in the video below:
Another very exciting development is based around the fact that a startup called Built Robotics has made a lot of progress in designing self-operating excavators. I'm talking about backhoes, and other construction vehicles.
“The idea behind Built Robotics is to use automation technology make construction safer, faster, and cheaper,” he said. “The robots basically do the 80 percent of the work, which is more repetitive, more dangerous, more monotonous. And then the operator does the more skilled work, where you really need a lot of finesse and experience.”
If the bricklaying robot didn't impress you, just wait there is more. Oh yes, there's more!
What if I told you there's a 3d printing robot that can make entire houses for only $10,000 each? Doesn't it sound like something out of a sci-fi movie? Well it may have been but these days this technology exists in the real world so let me tell you more about how it works.
As you can imagine, building a house by hand is both time-intensive and expensive. As a result of these constraints there is a new breed of homebuilders who have decided to automate part of the construction process.
According to a recent article published by IRL Science, a company called ICON is using a 3D-printing robot that can make parts for houses. The machine can print the walls, roof, and floor of a 650-square-foot model in as little as 12 hours. A worker then adds the windows, doors, plumbing, and electrical systems.
To build the house, they use a printer — called the Vulcan — which lays down layers of concrete one by one. After that point a worker then installs the finishes, plumbing, and electrical systems. Apparently, the whole process only takes 12 hours to one day!
The two companies that have made recent headlines for creating houses using this innovative technology which include New Story and ICON as it turns out, aren't even the first to 3D print a house.
Upon further research, Business Insider reported last year that the Ukrainian housing startup PassivDom created a 3D printer that can construct a 410-square-foot solar-powered home within eight hours. So clearly the race is on to perfect processes that are involved in completly automating the home building process!
The houses I've discussed in this article are intended for people in the developing world at this point as we have yet to seen machines or successful projects operating on a larger scale.
According to sources, the 3D-printing process costs much less, is quicker, and produces less waste than traditional construction.
The model shown above costs $10,000 in materials but this is still expensive for many living in developing countries. The next step is trying to find a way to reduce the overall cost of building materials to $4,000.
Finally it is their intention to create 100 houses in El Salvador by next year. If this plan goes as intended there will most definitely a significant amount of increased interest in pushing this technologically innovative process forward.
Thinking back to my childhood I remember it took months and months for contractors to finish the work on what was my home but simply a remodel job for them. I think it would have pleased me immensely if they could have brought in a robot and got the whole job finished in 12 hours! But then again, wouldn't that mean that they would be out of a job after they had finished?
The question still remains as to whether this is good for people in general. Everyday I write articles about how automation is replacing human labor in almost every field imaginable.
At what point do we decide automation is a bad thing and that we need to make sure there is an abundance of work for real human beings. In the neverending pursuit to reduce costs and increase profit do we also tend to lose our humanity. At least that has been my observation.
What do you guys think about this amazing new robotic construction vehicles and technologies?
Do you think the construction industry will see a major shift in its use of technology in coming years?
Can you envision a fleet of construction robots storming through a site and building a tower in just a fraction of the time it takes human workers to accomplish the same thing?
Here's a chance for the @ADSactly community to leave their thoughts and opinions on this topic!
Thanks for reading.
Authored by: @techblogger
In-text citations sources:
Construction companies are welcoming their new robot workers - House of Bots
A Robot Can Build This $10,000 House Within 12 Hours — Take A Look Inside - IFL Science
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