Enlisting robots to help with development surveys is safer and more efficient
Construction and development surveys are a necessary evil. They allow teams to assess a project site, whether before, during, or after development, and reveal pertinent details about a structure or property.
Surveys are conducted at each stage of a construction project. And as the project progresses, so do the surveys, moving from environmental and surface scans to more complex reports about foundations and structures.
There’s a lot about the surveying process that’s behind the curve. Every survey is tedious, especially when they involve large areas. The data collected also tends to be unstructured and unorganized, which makes it more difficult to process. Fortunately, robots can help.
What Are Construction Robots?
Robots are seeing a considerable rise in adoption within the construction field. Construction technology, in general, has become much more advanced and efficient in recent years. Mainly powered by big data, the technologies taking hold in the field vastly improve productivity, lower operating costs and reduce risk.
3D printers can be used to make components on- or off-site at unprecedented speeds. Drones and UAVs can be used to survey project sites and finished developments. Automated and intelligent machinery can complete tasks without a human behind the controls.
As for how human laborers benefit, it depends on the technology. Surveying robots and similar devices bring a lot to the table.
How Can Construction Workers Benefit From Surveying Robots?
To understand what robotic survey equipment has to offer, one must briefly consider the traditional surveying process. There are several forms, from safety and equipment monitoring to once-overs of a job site or structure. Yet, all are conducted in generally the same way.
An inspector walks the grounds looking for weaknesses and potential issues. They do this with a combination of the naked eye and specialized instruments. The work is largely conducted through human effort.
When they’re done, they must take the information they’ve collected and compile everything in a report to share with the rest of the team and project administrators. This takes time, and a lot goes into creating the surveys and reports.
Robotic survey equipment, on the other hand, can complete the same tasks in a fraction of the time.
An on-site drone can transmit the collected data instantly to a central system, where it’s collated and analyzed. The necessary parties, like a project manager, can access this information in real-time. Moreover, robots have access to advanced detection solutions like infrared, Lidar, and ground penetration. They are much more capable at discovering events, trends, or problems than humans.
Imagine how much an aerial drone or UAV can scan and assess in mere minutes. They get the lay of the land and analyze an entire property in just a fraction of the time it would take a human to do so. Moreover, because the technology is so capable and efficient, there’s no reason to have anyone walk the property or structure unless a major problem has been discovered.
This boosts safety for inspectors and surveyors, who may never have to step foot on the job site, especially a dangerous or hazardous one.
Those same robots can leverage built-in technologies, like ground-penetrating radar and infrared, to discover potential issues across a site. They might identify uneven terrain and hidden sinkholes, or they might even discover structural weaknesses that could result in collapse.
These devices are autonomous. They can carry out various tasks without human input, using machine learning, AI, and big data solutions. One brick-laying robot named SAM can lay up to 3,000 bricks during an eight-hour shift. That’s much faster than working by hand, even with skilled masons.
A robot prepped for transporting goods and supplies, for example, can move gear from one spot on a job site to another, closer to workers, as the project progresses. Another could be programmed to clean up a site by removing debris and fallen items. The result is a faster operation, thanks to robots handling background events that would otherwise be considered tedious or time-consuming.
Robots, powered by remote computing technologies such as big data and the Internet of Things (IoT), constantly report information back to a central system. That real-time data can be leveraged, also in real-time, to inform decisions and take action.
Project managers, for example, can see how development is progressing at any time, and they can react as necessary. It also generates a level of autonomy that has never been realized by the construction industry before.
When inefficiencies are discovered, they can be remedied right then through planning and with the help of machine learning solutions. The data collected by advanced robots can be used to build a proper response. It creates this always-on, always-prepared, and constantly evolving development system that’s only possible with the support of modern technologies.
Robots can support workers throughout the day by delivering tools and supplies and carrying heavy loads. UAVs, for instance, can transport gear and goods up to extreme heights when working on a tall structure. This eliminates the need for workers to travel up and down a structure, keeping them safer and giving them more time to focus on their primary tasks.
This has the added benefit of mitigating potential injuries. Alternatively, a robot could be used to support or restrain certain components, like holding up a piece of drywall or a support beam while the worker fastens it to the structure.
A drone could also “phone home” by letting managers know a particular worker needs aid, facilitating immediate action.
Robotic Survey Equipment Is the Future of Construction
Inspectors and surveyors monitor a site from beginning to end to understand the area and various details that influence the work. Later on, they take photos of the progress and walk the property or boundaries.
Robots can handle all of this and more. More importantly, they can do it faster, more accurately, and in real-time. Construction tech has come a long way, and it’s now in the midst of a digital revolution led by robotics.