• 1/26/2024
  • By Chris Luecke, Manufacturing Happy Hour

An illustration of a futuristic-looking excavator from DEVELON with “DEVELON Concept-X2” text overlaying the illustration.

Chris Luecke from the Manufacturing Happy Hour shares his ideas for the future of automation in the construction industry.

About two years ago, I attended an autonomous mobile robots conference, where I had a conversation with an individual who said that construction sites were quickly going to become the next frontier for robotics.

I look at opportunities for quadruped robots like Spot from Boston Dynamics for job site inspections in construction. Enabling robots to conduct these inspections in potentially dangerous environments offers an immediate opportunity to enhance productivity while improving safety.

Opportunities for the Next Generation

Young people today are more familiar with gaming and using controls, and it will be to their advantage in the future. The controls in the construction industry are not only becoming more automated, but they’re more familiar-looking to someone with a video game background; those individuals can be a perfect fit for a job in construction. Also, technical colleges are not only developing degree programs; they’re developing certifications in areas like automation, systems integration and artificial intelligence. These offer more opportunities for young people to enter the field.

Automation Can Help Worker Shortages

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are tools that are meant to help the limited number of workers in construction. We have so many baby boomers retiring every day; over the next decade, there are going to be 1.8 million unfilled jobs in the United States.

With the current population decline and the challenges we’re already facing in finding the talent we need on job sites, the reality is that automation and artificial intelligence are enhancing the productivity of existing workers.

Chris Luecke is the host of Manufacturing Happy Hour, a podcast devoted to helping manufacturers reduce costs and drive profitability and growth through automation technologies.

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