Maybe you’ve never used the words “construction” and “high-tech” in the same sentence. But the building industry has been adopting innovations that save money and speed up projects. The latest technology trends for construction prove that the sky’s the limit.
Robots are becoming increasingly familiar presences at work sites in many ways. They’re a boon to an industry experiencing a shortage of human workers. While “humanoid laborers” aren’t quite ready for the big time, these technologies are.
Construction teams use these to get an overhead view of work sites, equipment, materials, and people.
Also known as “cobots,” these machines work alongside humans, but the plan isn’t to replace people. They’re meant to take over low-level work so employees can do more skilled labor.
These are robots that imitate the form of an arm to perform everything from drilling to assembling parts. They’ll even be used to build the Lunar Gateway space station.
In most ways, artificial intelligence is still the next frontier for construction. People are already using it to reduce safety risks on job sites. Artificial intelligence currently helps to inform training programs, providing simulations of safety scenarios and guiding new workers through solutions. AI is also monitoring employees’ health with smart helmets and vests that measure biometric data like body temperature and heart rate. Some people predict that AI will eventually focus on retaining the shrinking workforce. With data and machine-learning algorithms, AI could point out potential leaders or workers who are ready to quit. Ultimately, this will help contractors hire the best candidates—and keep them happy.
Amazing feats of construction are receiving lots of publicity, like the world’s largest 3D-printed building (Dubai), and a 3D-printed, concrete house based on the spiraling Fibonacci sequence (Canada). But the technology is no novelty, and builders are using it to erect homes more efficiently and inexpensively. Because 3D printing only uses the liquid material it needs to build designs layer by layer, construction sites can produce less waste. With just one large printer attached to a crane, a building can go up in a matter of days. This technology trend for construction is even making the leap into outer space. NASA sponsored a competition for shelter designs that can be 3D-printed on Mars. The winner’s beehive-shaped structures can be erected with nothing more than the materials on the planet’s surface.