10 Construction Robots Finding Success, Making Job Sites Safer for the Humans

Construction can be a dirty, physically demanding and dangerous business. Over the past decade, though, an increasing number of "smart machines" have come into the market, promising to make job sites safer, healthier and more appealing for the humans on the job.

For an industry characterized by labor shortages, an aging work force, challenges competing for a new generation workforce, and a persistently high worker fatality rate, a new era of more advanced equipment offers a potentially powerful set of solutions.  It is still early in the evolution of this next generation of advanced equipment and robotics, and there is still much to do to ensure their further development, but ten companies are pushing the boundaries of possible for an industry hungry for better solutions:

Advanced Construction Robotics - Tybot and Ironbot

Tying rebar is difficult and demanding work. Tybot, by Advanced Construction Robotics automates "backbreaking" rebar tying activities, leaving crews free to focus on other tasks. Meantime, Ironbot Lifts carries, and self-places horizontal and longitudinal rebar.

Flyability - Elios 3 Survey Drone

Inspecting wind turbines 300 feet in the air, energized power lines, and confined spaces is dangerous work. Drone and drone software companies like Flyability are making it safer and easier for construction and maintenance crews to perform those inspections, and new generations of drones are better equipped with more sophisticated payloads and better abilities to maneuver in tight spaces.

FBR - Hadrian X

FBR's Hadrian X was one of the first construction industry robotics companies to make a big splash in the industry, showing off its automated bricklaying technology, allowing a machine to do the heavy and demanding work of lifting and laying oversized blocks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "masonry work is physically demanding, requiring heavy lifting and long periods of standing, kneeling, and bending." Employment in the industry has been declining and is expected to continue to decline. In addition to helping compensate for the loss of workers, opportunities to work with robots like Hadrian, as opposed to doing the traditional, demanding bricklaying work, may also help attract more workers to the profession.

Fischer - Baubot

From the German diversified manufacturing and technology company Fischer Group, BauBot is kind of a Swiss Army knife of robots, assisting crews with everything from lifting, drilling, cutting, and more. The Fischer BauBot takes on demanding and exhausting tasks to reduce the risk of injury. It also features an integrated dust extraction system which reduces dust on construction sites, leading to healthier and cleaner worksites.

Techmatics - Hades 6

Advancements in construction inspection robotics are not only helpful in keeping humans away from dangerous conditions, but also serve as data collection agents for reality capture. Techmatics, a New Zealand-based inspection robotics provider, offers both tethered and wireless robots to inspect hard-to-reach areas. Specifically designed for stormwater drains, the Hades 6 is a waterproof inspection robot that is capable of effectively carrying out inspections in challenging environments.

Hilti - Jaibot

Jaibot is a semi-autonomous construction robot that takes over installation execution through the use of digital plans. It marks and drills holes, relieving workers from the more strenuous tasks and allowing them to focus on operating the robot. The solution is cordless and can operate for up to 8 hours without the need for charging.

Kewazo - Liftbot

Falls from elevated heights are a major cause of death in the construction industry. In many cases, these falls occur because of scaffolding and other aerial platforms. Liftbot provides a safer and more efficient way to erect and dismantle scaffolding while ensuring that elevated work platforms are safe to use.

Icon - Phoenix

Icon's Phoenix is a multi-story robotic construction system which can print an entire building enclosure from foundation to roof structures, providing a new way of working that enhances efficiency and safety on construction sites.

Okibo - EG6 Autonomous Finishing Robot

Okibo has developed a robotic solution that can be used for painting, coating, and drywall finishing. These robots can work alongside human workers, which helps to increase productivity and precision. The EG6 robot uses autonomous path planning technology, BIM 5D, and 3D scanning and modeling to quickly complete wall-building tasks.

Skyline Robotics - Ozmo

Skyline is a robotics company that specializes in facade maintenance, with a current focus on window cleaning at high altitudes. Skyline's Ozmo technology is capable of learning the architecture of the building it is working on, which enables it to create optimal cleaning paths. By using this solution, not only does it reduce the need for humans to work at great heights, but it can also complete the window cleaning process up to three times faster.