Robotics technology used to be relegated to television and movies, but today’s robotics have brought the dreams of yesterday into vivid focus. From robotic vacuum cleaners that scour apartment floors to building robots that handle heavy loads during large-scale construction projects, the future of robotics looks bright.
In fact, Robot Operating System 2.0 has received a lot of attention as software developers have begun to concentrate efforts on creating entire software ecosystems just for robotics technology.
The potential now exists for artificial intelligence (AI) systems to be incorporated into the development of future robotic hardware, opening the door for functional androids. While this future may seem far off, it may be closer than many people think.
Why Robotic Companies See Opportunities In Construction
Building robots and construction robot technology have come a long way in recent years, so much so that companies like Built Robotics and Elon Musk’s Boring Co. have invested huge sums into the development of machines that can build large structures.
Although fully autonomous robots are the goal, for now, programmed robot workers are having a big impact on the building industry.
Built Robotics has developed automated excavators that utilize camera technology to scan surface areas for hazards. The potential for this technology in the construction industry is not only expected to speed along projects, but it also has the potential to improve safety and reduce insurance costs.
Manufacturing giant Caterpillar has also taken the plunge into robotic technology by acquiring Marble Robot, Inc. This acquisition is meant to spur the development of Caterpillar’s own line of robotic construction vehicles and machinery. The goal is to utilize Marble Robot’s innovative approach to construction robots in mining operations around the world.
The Benefits of Robotics Technology for Workers and the Community
Machines can also work in hazardous conditions as well as different types of climates all year long. The challenge currently is to develop camera technology that is able to adapt alongside robotic technology developments.
Current AI cameras have trouble scanning surfaces in snowy, rainy and foggy conditions. These limitations have already been experienced in the autonomous vehicle industry as automakers have been challenged to find solutions that work in various climates.
Companies like Veev are also taking advantage of robotics in the design, development and manufacturing of modular homes. The company currently uses robots to rapidly fabricate modular home components to speed along the manufacturing process without the need for huge teams of workers.
Veev believes that the use of robotics in its manufacturing process could open the door to affordable, sustainable housing in a real estate environment where renting has become more and more the standard.
Will Robotic Machinery Support Or Replace Workers?
Although building robots in the construction and manufacturing industries hold promise for employers, workers are not as enthused about the prospect of robot replacements. Workers are concerned that the potential exists for robots to take away jobs that have traditionally been completed by skilled laborers.
While these concerns are not unfounded, it is also entirely possible that machines will support workers rather than replace them. This would actually make life easier for laborers, allowing them to get more done without as much effort. Time will tell how things play out, but for now, construction and manufacturing professionals are keeping a close eye on developments.
It’s worth considering that some companies may choose to laterally move workers into tech support positions as robotics become more important. Workers could be retrained to handle tasks like maintenance and monitoring of robotics systems in the construction and manufacturing industries.
This process would require a large investment and a variable time frame depending on the skill of existing workers, but this approach would allow workers to continue leveraging their industry experience without detracting from the workforce.