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5 Cool Futuristic Machines for Construction

7 Minute Read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
January 13, 2022

Construction technologies are constantly evolving to help keep up with the changing construction processes and construction workers. Many of these technologies have been created to limit the hassle on construction sites, construction equipment, and construction companies by introducing alternatives to current work techniques.

Here are 5 futuristic machines that are made for construction.

1. 3D Printers for Construction

Although 3D printers have been around for a few years now, they are really starting to take shape within the construction industry. This innovative construction machine has proven beneficial in medical, aerospace, and tool making fields. With advances, 3D printing can now create walls, process cement, and create architectural designs.

In the past 3D printing was used for creating prototype parts but with the addition of building information modeling (BIM) architects can build full-scale designs. Today 3D printing has been used for concrete. Building concrete from 3D printers is still in the developmental stage as many companies are testing the stability of the concrete itself. The possibilities are endless as these printers can create concrete foundations, walls, and individual cylinders for bridges in a quick, efficient manner.

Expect to see 3D printing become more prominent in the construction management industry as it provides benefits like an increase in productivity, speed, reducing waste, design opportunities, and preventing human errors.

3D printer for construction.

2. Robot Swarm Construction

Swarm-bots are simply construction robots that increase safety on construction projects by completing tasks that are deemed unfit for a human to complete. The name swarm-bot was created based on the idea of using simple robots in a large number (swarm) to build a design without any guidance. These robots can build many amazing structures where other construction machines would cost more and pose risk to humans.

Oddly enough, the idea for this robot came from the inspect species, termites. Termites are small in size but work together in numbers to create different structures in nature. Engineers wanted these machines to work in the same way and created the robot identical to termites. Swarm-bots operate under artificial intelligence (Ai) as their rules for operating are set within the machine before the job begins. The bots work simultaneously with one another, placing the materials and moving around one another to work in different directions. The Swarm-bot was tested by Harvard as they gave them a challenge of building a wall. They programmed their operations and the bots were able to build the wall with ease.

Swarm-bots also provide many benefits as they are simple to use, low cost to maintain, will work in areas too dangerous for humans, and effective in completing the job. No need to fear as these robots will not decrease the need for labor as they have simply been created to complete jobs that risk safety.

AI machine learning.

3. Autonomous Construction Equipment

Automation in the construction industry is long overdue. Much like Swarm-bots, companies are looking to add robotics to current equipment that is used on construction sites like rock trucks. Futuristic construction technologies have integrated machine learning by designing machines that can complete tasks that are repetitive, harmful, or slow, using robots.

Companies like Caterpillar and Volvo have already created autonomous machines with Caterpillar using self-driving trucks in the mining industry and Volvo creating the LX03 self-operating wheel loader. Other companies such as SafeAI have been recreating used equipment by modifying trucks, dozers, and loaders to be self-operating. This advance in construction equipment works by inserting cameras, sensors, and tracking of data to guide the machine through the workplace safely and efficiently.

Although these self-operating machines are quite impressive, making a machine autonomous requires a lot of time and investment. They have been created to increase efficiency with repetitive jobs, but construction is not always repetitive. In different areas of construction the job becomes more and more dynamic. In order for the autonomous machines to work to their full potential the construction sites need to remain unchanged, which is unlikely to happen.

In order to fully involve autonomous construction equipment in the industry, changes need to be continually made. The technology needs to overcome obstacles such safety concerns of self-operating equipment, and changes in the job environment to fully work. Expect to see more of this equipment in the near future, not right away before launch. 

4. Telematics being added to construction equipment

Telematics is not actually a machine being used but instead it is helping change how companies operate. This system integration in the machine provides companies with machine diagnostic information that helps prevent downtime, theft, and improper use. The machine is able to communicate with both the operator and company alike important information such as whereabouts on the site, fuel consumption, and machine operation techniques.

All of this information is cloud based which means that it is stored in a drive and provides real life updates the moment it happens. A company that currently uses this technology is John Deere. John Deere offers JDLink where this system helps the customer manage their fleet and jobsite from anywhere. To further increase the efficiency of JDLink, the dealers themselves monitor their customers' machines. The customer is able to complete the job and the data from the machine goes to the health monitoring center where John Deere analyzes the machine's health, and maintenance.

Telematics in machines allows for work to be smart because the operator can monitor fuel consumption, receive alerts when something is wrong, and take preventive measures for equipment maintenance.

Machinery on a job site.

5. Remote Controlled Equipment for Mining

One of the biggest changes in the mining industry is remote controlled equipment. Companies like Volvo are using developments in 5G technology to create equipment that is operated by a remote control. The goal is to increase safety within the mines by having machines do the work rather than humans having to be in the mine.

The worker is able to stay above ground and control how machines such as dozers, excavators, and loaders operate with the remote. This technology has been made to work through sensors, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), radar and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) controlling the movements of the machine.

The remote controlled equipment for mining has many benefits as it takes the worker out of dangerous conditions while still completing the job. More workers have been attracted to this technology as well because of the minimized danger, less harmful, and controlling the machine feels like a video game.

Machinery at a mining site.

The Future of Construction

With changes in technology the future of construction is certainly bright. Much of this new technology and machinery focuses on providing more safety which is the ultimate goal in construction. Construction projects and management is constantly evolving so now is the time for the technology and machinery to evolve with it.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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