Construction Technology: 2018's Greatest Innovations

December 19, 2018

If you've been following our blog, you'll know that we're enamored by the leaps and bounds that the construction industry is making with the help of technology. This week, Construction Dive has satisfied our need for all things technology by naming the most impressive pieces of technology to hit the industry this year.

  1. Coming out on top is the use of virtual reality for training purposes. Virtual reality not only allows supervisors to train workers by immersing them in specific virtual situations, but it also allows the trainee to make decisions and experience the consequences of bad decisions without risking their lives. Additionally, the software also allows workers to interact with designs prior to the start of construction to help identify issues ahead of time.
  2. Announced by Japan's Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute this year was HRP-5P, a humanoid robot that can hang drywall without any assistance from actual humans. He's not particularly speedy just yet, but the technology alone opens a whole new world of possibilities for the construction industry.
  3. It was only a matter of time before AI took over the construction scene. Alice Technologies have developed an AI assistant that can do tedious number-crunching in a matter of minutes, greatly reducing the time spent on bids, budgets, and reports. There are even other plug-in options for the AI to recognize code violations before they can even happen.
  4. Hard hats are becoming even safer as sensor technology that monitor physical symptoms are now being added to the safety gear. Shimabun, a Japanese company, released a kit that not only monitors light-headedness, overheating, and falls, but also can help prevent safety accidents by sending alerts when a worker is at risk. This technology uses location data to make sure workers steer clear of unauthorized or dangerous work areas according to permissions.
  5. Based on the technology design for sealed tubes that can transport pods without friction at high speeds released by Tesla and SpaceX in 2013, companies have been racing to complete a hyperloop, or a high-speed transportation system. Though Elon Musk is the man behind the initial design and first proposal of a hyperloop route between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies will likely beat Musk's SpaceX in making the hyperloop a reality as they are scheduled to begin construction on the first full system in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
  6. Constructuring, or the union of construction and manufacturing, is making waves in the construction industry. Several companies have modeled their new processes after manufacturing companies like Toyota, focusing on prefabrication, a new installation process, reducing waste, and completing projects faster and cheaper than before.
  7. This list would not be complete without the inclusion of drones. The uses of drones seem never-ending as technology leaders continue to find non-traditional ways to use drones to assist workers in safety, regulation, and data collection. Most recently, there's been a push for the use of drones in analytics. Thus far, several drone solution providers have created sensors and software to improve surveying and convert data to photogrammetry programs.
With a list like this in 2018, it's hard to imagine what 2019 will bring! Check out Construction Dive for more information.