The construction sector: is automation possible at last?

The construction sector is looked on as less open to automation than manufacturing industries, but recently, the sector has seen announcements that make a fundamental change possible: autonomous robots are putting in an appearance on worksites…

1 – The routes to robotic-enabled construction are no longer quite so hard to navigate.

The potential benefits of robotics for the construction industry are well known: productivity gains, less arduous work, safety, worker empowerment and new techniques (predictive maintenance, cobotics, surveillance, 3D printing), but it also involves digitalising activities, which can then be managed through software (Hiboo, a newcomer to Leonard, knows a thing or two about this). But let’s move on and spare their blushes! In what conditions can this long-awaited adoption of robotics happen? In recent months, the economics and specialist press has been asking the question.

Robotics Can Solve The Construction Skills Shortage—If Handled Properly (Part One) and Construction Co-bots Need To Be Smarter, More Adaptive (Part Two) – Forbes

How robots are changing the construction industry – Fortune

The future of construction: robotic assistance, but no robots yet – Batirama

Architects anticipate robots on construction sites – ZDNet

2 – Automated construction: have we reached a tipping point?

We should be wary of mythologising worksite automation, as Chloé Clair, CTO of VINCI Construction told Leonard. However, with the help of 3D printing and materials engineering, the idea of an automated worksite is making headway – and getting noticed. Recently, the hype surrounding an amazing achievement in Switzerland (see our interview) spread far beyond the small world of tech enthusiasts.

Built by robots: This Swiss company could change the construction industry forever – World Economic Forum

The New Boston Dynamics’ Spot 1.1 Revolutionizes the Construction Industry – Arch Daily

Hybrid 3D printer robots are making the manufacturing of European industrial components 40% faster – Euronews

7 of the Most Beautiful 3D Printed Houses and Cabins – Interesting Engineering

Can robots solve the affordable housing crisis? – Politico

What does the future of construction sites look like with 3D printing robots? – Autodesk

Autonomous excavation robot in development – Robotics Business Review

Construction drones – Construction Dive

3 – Robogamis, xenobots and companionship robots: the other robot stars of 2020.

Robotics is inherently fascinating to inventors, investors, big business innovation units and the public at large. Not a day passes without a major CES-type announcement or a research lab’s forum turning up in our newsletters or Twitter feeds. Across all sectors, Leonard has picked over the whole of January’s news to create a (not as wacky as it looks) snapshot of our (universal?) fascination with this strange Czech word from the 1920s and the imagery surrounding it.

Meet the xenobots: Tiny living robots have been created using cells taken from frog embryos – MIT Technology Review

10 innovative robotics solutions for retail spotted at NRF 2020 – L’Usine Digitale

Robo-taxis are on the way (soon) – USA Today

Robogamis are the real heirs of terminators and transformers – Aeon

Ballie, the “Star Wars” droid-like figurehead of Samsung’s smart home system (CES 2020) – L’Usine Digitale

Going walkies with Japan’s robot dog companions – Buzzfeed News

A two-legged delivery robot has gone on sale—and Ford is the first customer – MIT Technology Review

Toyota tests large-scale human-robot cohabitation in a new prototype smart city – Curbed

“The best thing we could do was make it into a humanless process” – the pros and cons of robots as the answer to the Japanese labour shortage – SF Chronicle / New York Times

What do we do?

The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.