The construction industry can seem pretty basic to the uninitiated. But to anyone who has spent time in an active work zone, it’s obvious that construction is often at the leading edge of technological innovation. We’ve highlighted many of those revolutionary advancements previously on the blog, from high-tech hard-hats and wireless headsets to futuristic forklifts and 3D-printing.
Now, worksite are also likely to soon see autonomous vehicles and machinery. Already the industry has been introduced to SAM, the Semi-Automated Mason that can lay bricks 6 times faster than a human. And just a few weeks ago, CMG Construction and Built Robotics showed off an impressive collaborative project: a driverless skid steer. Using GPS technology to guide itself across the commercial site, the futuristic machine demonstrates that the autonomous age of construction may soon be near.
Said the Business Development Manager for CMG Construction, “This is not somebody on a remote control, somewhere else. It’s actually operating itself. A couple sensors will see how much material it has in the bucket and also it will check the resistance of how much material it’s pushing.” And while the self-driving skid steer is currently slower than a manually operated machine (the autonomous operating code is still being written, tweaked, and finalized), driverless technology is catching up at a breakneck pace.
The developers compare the evolutionary pace of autonomous technology to the invention of manned aircraft. Once the Wright brothers achieved their first flight in 1903, breakthroughs in aviation occurred rapidly until just years later, people — who had remained shackled to the planet’s surface for centuries — easily accepted airplanes as a common form of transportation. With self-driving vehicles already in development, autonomous construction equipment is practically inevitable, with Build Robotics next setting their eyes toward autonomizing a bulldozer.
Until self-driving construction equipment becomes just as commonplace as trucks or airplanes, there will continue to be much written about the looming automation revolution. We’re likely to write our fair share as well!! But as we continue to learn about the benefits and concerns that accompany driverless tech, we also want to keep up with how you feel about our changing industry.
Let us know in the comments below; what do you think about the continuing development of autonomous construction equipment??