Previously untouched by automation, the construction industry has become recently permeated with new technology and robotics. While manual labor is likely to always remain a vital component in modern construction, technology has and continues to evolve to support and optimize the construction process. Over the last few years multiple digitized strides have been made within the construction industry. The newest piece of technology is emerging from Purdue University. Innovators are developing robotic technology that promise to assist construction companies and contractors in producing higher quality buildings, at a lower cost, and faster turnaround.
The National Science Foundation provided support for the development of this new technology. This new automation combines a contemporary mechanical design with advanced computer vision sensing technology. Jiansong Zhang, an assistant professor of construction management technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, describes their technologies as “help[ing] to address workforce shortages in the construction industry by automating key construction operations.” Zhang goes on to explain “on a construction site, there are many unknown factors that a construction robot must be able to account for effectively. This requires much more advanced sensing and reasoning technologies than those commonly used in a manufacturing environment.”The group of innovators working on this project reimagined the extent to which robotic sensing can be utilized, focusing on the computer vision sensing mechanics. The computer vision sensing software curated for this project uses a newly developed algorithm “which allows the robotic system to sense building elements and match them to building information modeling (BIM) data in a variety of environments.” This novel technology will monitor safety hazards and decrease the amount of equipment required in the field. In the end helping to minimize expenses while also speed up production.