- Gramazio Kohler Research is developing robots designed to perform different construction tasks with various materials, according to Architect Magazine.
- The technology aims to automate onsite construction tasks like stacking materials in nonstandard arrangements.
- Robots designed to work with timber construction and mesh mold metal will use cameras to process data and then work to arrange materials on site.
For some industry observers, robots are construction's next big disruptor. From miners that can delve where humans cannot, to an autonomous track loader and rebar-tying robot, recent years have seen mounting evidence pointing to what could be an emerging robotic revolution.
It's unclear what role robotics will play in replacing or altering construction jobs, but the technology has been cited as a key path to moving beyond the industry's well-known productivity gap. According to a McKinsey Research report, using digital tools in construction could lift productivity by 50% to 60% and create $1.6 trillion in value.
But robots aren't the only technological newcomers shifting the job site landscape. Wearables, drones and a proliferation of software suites designed specifically for the architecture, engineering and construction industries all are redefining the building process. And developments in such technology are expected to continue as a growing number of investors place their bets on con-tech companies.
Automation will likely be one answer to solving construction's chronic skilled labor shortage. Automating jobs such as digging and bricklaying — even in non-repeating arrangements — will enable more workers to shift their focus to other tasks and can help cut down on necessary labor and project timelines. And, for Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost, that makes automation an opportunity, not a threat, for the industry.