Japan aims to ramp up construction productivity with drones, AI

With its ageing and shrinking population, Japan has launched a campaign to raise productivity at construction sites by 20% by 2025 through the use of drones and artificial intelligence.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised yesterday to combat the image of construction as dangerous and dirty, and to "drastically" change the industry’s work environment, at the first meeting of public and private-sector experts responsible for coming up with new growth strategy policies.

Drones could carry out surveying on public projects such as tunnels, bridges and dams, while artificial intelligence should be deployed to cut the time required to carry out land surveys.

"We will shed light on impediments to employing the remarkable technological innovations of recent years in people’s lives and society, and push forward with reforms," Abe said at the meeting, reports The Japan Times.

The government plans to compile a new growth strategy by around the middle of next year.

With Japan’s population shrinking and getting older, proposals to employ artificial intelligence are also likely to involve replacing construction machinery with machines that can be operated automatically.

The plan may involve rolling out tax breaks and financial support to aid regional public works projects and small and medium-size construction firms in adopting information and communication technologies.

At a separate meeting Monday, Abe vowed to make Japan the world leader in business innovation and make public services more convenient by streamlining bureaucratic procedures using so-called information and communications technology.

Image: Drones in flight (Halftermeyer/Wikimedia Commons)

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  1. Drones can also be used in inspection of bridges, dams and high risk structures which can’t be accessed easily. I have a feeling we’re just discovering all the great usages of these interesting ”gadgets”.

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