Although automation is transforming nearly all industries, it is the construction industry that may be breaking ground for robot workers.
There appears to be a tight connection now between construction and tech, with new companies inspiring greater heights of innovation in software, drones, and robots. One of the major catalysts is that construction firms are facing a skills shortage.
One mining plant manager said that it is presently difficult finding qualified people to handle industrial equipment or even manage a plant. He felt it was a case of everyone wanting to work in an office instead of an environment where they might have to get their hands dirty.
Workers at a Colorado masonry company were recently introduced to a bricklaying robot worker named SAM, or Semi-Automated Mason. Using a robotic arm and conveyor belt, SAM can lay 3,000 bricks in a typical eight-hour workday. Instead of worrying about losing their livelihoods, the employees are positive about the idea of automating some of their more routine tasks.
Brian Kennedy, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers representative, said that there are certain tasks that require skilled bricklayers, so SAM does not pose a threat. He confirmed that his organisation is in favour of any technology that supports the masonry industry.