Technology is impacting the construction industry like never before and the innovation in the space has boosted the overall efficiency. Innovations like digital twins to Robots, Super Material, Wearable Tech, Pollution Eating Buildings, and Artificial Intelligence, an incredible array of technology-based development is hoping to improve the sector. New technologies have always eased the workload on the human workforce at the construction site; these new technologies will reshape the construction industry in 2020.
Rapidly moving from science fiction to reality, Robots are beginning to enter the construction industry in multiple areas. From autonomous rovers that help in site unbiased inspections increasing the efficiency of the details during site inspections to mechanical arms that automate highly repetitive tasks like bricklaying and tying rebar ensuring 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, 2019 saw 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 processes become automated. Building on this, the rise of Artificial Intelligence is also having an impact on construction. From the major leaps taken in concepts like predictive designs of the product at the planning stage to the rise of intelligent buildings that learn how best to operate themselves and serve their uses over time. The construction sector will likely find itself at the core of wider AI debate taking place across societies in the years ahead. If utilized correctly, the rise of automation could give construction the efficiency, productivity and safety breakthroughs for decades to come.
Originally developed for military use and for patient mobility, Ekso Skeletons are beginning to appear on construction sites. Helping workers to manually handling injuries and the risk of hand-arm vibration these mechanical suits that augment with human operatives can also deliver considerable gains in productivity. Already being rapidly adapted in manufacturing sectors, live trails on construction sites past year have yielded the result that will drive the uptake on Ekso Skeletons in the construction sector in 2020.
The Connected Job sites:
Connected job sites use cloud-based technologies to make 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 putting design information streamed from a single point of truth to the palms of operatives to information by Gio-locations, remote site monitoring, personnel location tracking, live mark-ups and the seamless transfer of as 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. Meanwhile, tech innovations are continued to be made in connecting people and consolidating systems through digital mapping engines that contain and visualize construction data. New technology like Blue Beam Atlas is set to be available in 2020 that leverages Geospatial mapping to rethink mobile information access.
While autonomous vehicles continue to make headlines in consumer space, their adoption in the construction sector is set to take notable strides forward in 2020. As with the field of robotics, the automation of construction particularly emulating to highly repetitive tasks could increase productivity while creating a safer work environment and help in addressing the industries shortfall in labour. In Sweden Volvo has developed electric autonomous vehicles that carry the material load and have delivered a 40% improvement in efficiency as compared to a traditional setup, Volvo has also developed semi-autonomous electric excavators that can learn the careful movement required to achieve highly accurate levelling. The combined use of autonomous technology and electric power enables work to take place around the clock without the need for breaks or the disrupting noise levels that traditionally prevent such working styles.
The construction industry is well aware of its impact on the environment and with growing awareness of the impact, the sector is trying to reduce the carbon footprint. Technological advancements, on the other hand, are bringing numerous new material innovations to the floor to reduce the overall carbon footprint. A significant increase in recycling of hard to dispose of waste products such as plastic is also seen. Recent development has seen the incorporation of waste plastic into roadways and creating 3D printed structures. Co2 is another bi-product being repurposed in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry at large. Currently, in Atlanta, the Co2 is injected in the concrete mix used in the building structure. This carbon dioxide becomes trapped inside the concrete as it cures, while chemical reaction within the mix forms limestone nanoparticles that increase the overall compressive strength of the final material. Self Healing Concrete is another example of advanced material where the concrete is mixed with bacteria that germinates when water enters the cracks in decaying concrete filling the emerging air gaps. Other innovations like kinetic paving which generates electricity with pedestrian’s footsteps and smog-eating buildings coated in photocatalytic titanium dioxide that reacts with light to neutralize pollutions in the air in the world’s most congested cities
With this development in the technology in construction space, it would be exciting to see how the future would look like.