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Cool construction robots – will they cost the earth?

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As I noted on Tuesday, planning for a post-virus world needs to accelerate for all industries, but in construction in particular I can see why making more use of robotics will be attractive.  The world is changing and while I fully expect that much that was normal before will be restored, we will have to adapt to new and more remote ways of working.  Firms that plan for this now may be more likely to be able to race away when the market returns.  Robotics in construction has been developing for many years now and, in theory (although see below for a reality check), these cool machines are already available to transform sites that are currently lying forlorn and wasted.

The Wall-E doppelganer
This Spanish tech navigates around construction sites and builds maps by fusing images, video, and data captured by its robots. Useful to take to other planets, should we want to colonise them…

Fetch Rover!
Just like their doggie namesakes, Rovers will follow you about and, unlike your mutt, will also carry tools and materials. You don’t have to keep finding stuff, which is nice and also very efficient. The best news is that they don’t have the large up-front cost of some robotics.

The Mule
Not only is this mule not as stubborn as its animal equivalents, it can also, like them, carry a huge load while you build things…

The Almost Human
OK, it’s not a human, but unlike all the other robots we’ve looked at, this one is the most scary in some respects.  ‘Cos it is clearly designed to replace humans…

What’s interesting about these machines is that some are quite old.  Which begs the question, why have the not been adopted more widely?  Could the answer be that they simply cost humungous amounts of money that most firms simply can’t afford – especially if they have been struggling financially during the crisis?  Might it be cheaper, and more socially beneficial, just to carry on employing humans?  I’ll look into those thorny questions next week…

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment


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