Laing O’Rourke to champion construction robotics in Australia

Equipment maker Hilti unveiled its first robot, “Jaibot”, a ceiling-drilling semi-autonomous machine, in October 2020 (Hilti Corporation)
UK-headquartered Laing O’Rourke has formed a strategic partnership with Australia’s body for the robotics sector, Robotics Australia Group (RAG) to explore how robotics can help address productivity, labour shortages and safety in construction.

“We want to be at the forefront of designing, testing and integrating robotics and adjacent technologies into our projects,” said Georgina North, Head of Technology and Innovation at Laing O’Rourke.

RAG was established to facilitate the growth of a competitive national robotics industry. Laing O’Rourke helped it develop both the 2018 and 2022 Robotics Roadmaps for Australia. This new partnership is an extension of that commitment.

RAG chair, Dr Sue Keay, said: “It is imperative that leading global corporations like Laing O’Rourke play an active role in testing and scaling robotics and related technologies.”

She added: “Ultimately, collaboration is the key to unlocking the sector’s potential.”

Among other projects in Australia, Laing O’Rourke this year won a place on a US$1.6bn tunnelling contract for Sydney Metro West with Malaysian engineer Gamuda, and last year won the c.A$500m initial and early works contract for the 26km eastern section of the Suburban Rail Loop transit project in Melbourne.

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