Construction robots in 2020: the rise of the machines

The development and deployment of robots to automate repetitive construction tasks has been increasing in recent years, but the impact of covid-19 saw yet more attention focused on them in 2020.

BIM+ reported on robots in all areas of construction from major civils work, to road maintenance to painting, decorating and bricklaying.

Here are the top five robots that caught your attention this year.

5. Robot road maintenance ahead

A road maintenance robot is being developed by a University of Liverpool joint venture. The robot, known as ARRES (autonomous road repair system), not only identifies potholes, but also characterises their geometry and collects measurements on the go.

It automatically deposits sealing material, fixing smaller cracks before they evolve into potholes.

The robot also features a prediction algorithm to help prioritise work schedules.

4. Robot decorator makes its debut

In August, construction tech start-up Okibo demonstrated what it claimed is the world’s first autonomous plastering and painting robot.

The robot is designed to autonomously traverse the potentially rough terrain of a typical construction site with “high precision, while maintaining human and equipment safety”. No manual programming is required.

3. Wall-crawling robot painter receives Cemex award

Haubots has developed a patent-pending wall-climbing robot that can paint or inspect building exteriors (see main image above). The robot’s ability to climb walls is “based on Formula 1 aerodynamic principles, and carefully engineered design”.

Hausbot’s work was recognised in the annual Cemex Ventures Top 50 ConTech Start-ups list.

2. Hilti launches overhead drilling robot

The Jaibot overhead drilling robot for M&E, plumbing and fit-out work was launched by Hilti in North America in November.

It is cordless and can work for up to eight hours between charges and has a built-in dust removal system. The maximum height it can reach is 5 metres.

Jaibot takes its instructions straight from data that is uploaded to the Hilti cloud from Autocad or Revit.

1. Robot bricklayer starts work in Yorkshire

Construction Automation’s automatic brick-laying robot (ABLR), was building a house in Everingham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire when BIM+ reported on it in October.

The ABLR, which took four years to develop, lays bricks, blocks, and mortar. Construction Automation claims it is the first robot of its kind that can build around corners.

The story drew some wry comments from readers:

  • “Does it require CSCS card to enter site?”
  • “Can they programme it to go down the pub and not come back?”
Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News