New innovative and unique technological advancements are resulting in enhanced construction cost efficiency. Now robots are being employed on the construction site to speed up the job and reduce construction cost. Robotics is advancing into more complex and varied tasks on jobsites.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a division of the U.S. Dept. of Defense, decided to fund the growth of rising technologies after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant in Japan March 2011.
Last December on the Homestead Miami Speedway in Florida, humanoid robots representing 16 teams from all over the globe opened doors, climbed ladders, cut through walls, turned valves, and drove vehicles for different types of terrain. The damage brought by tsunami and the radiation leakage from the powerplant adversely affected the containment efforts. DARPA's trials are designed around the jobs a human might have to carry in a same kind of disaster-response scenario.
DARPA attempted to explore how the repetitive and algorithm-driven advantages of modern robotics were applied by the engineers. It is required to know if these benefits of robotics can be employed to different unpredictable environments of disaster zones and, by extension, real-world working situations, such as construction jobsites.
According to the Business Development Director at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, Steve DiAntonio, construction jobs are disorganized and as a robotics group, they would prefer for the infrastructure to be designed to suit robotics environment. He expects that in coming years more infrastructure could be added to make sites more friendly for automation.
Though construction sites are not particularly robot-friendly today, but the increasing use of prefabricated components can shift the more repetitive tasks off-site to the controlled and systematic factory environment which is best suited for robots.
Though robots have been working in controlled environments, the latest advances in lightweight-but-powerful machinery as well as sophisticated control software have enabled robots to venture into construction jobs effectively.