Construction robots moved on at pace in 2022. And – quite rightly – new robots’ focus was on the work that we don’t want to do, freeing up human resource to be deployed elsewhere (hopefully). Indeed, this year’s robots were in the dirt and danger zone.
Ratty the robot scurries along underground pipes, carrying out inspection work. The brainchild of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), Ratty is a tetherless, wheeled inspection robot with a laser-based navigation module, which has the potential to carry out tasks in environments that would defeat most robots.
Just 20mm wide, Pipebots are the brainchild of a team from the universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield, with the support of utility companies and industry bodies. The micro robots inspect buried pipes – water pipes in particular – and they can both walk and swim.
In the late summer, HP launched a site printing robot that marks up plans on construction sites, generating significant productivity gains. It can also print text and thus bring additional data from the digital model to the construction site. It is autonomous and can avoid obstacles.
Tunnelling and underground construction technology start-up, HyperTunnel, unleashed its swarm construction robots to 3D-print an underground structure. Using swarm construction methods in line with a digital twin of the tunnel, a fleet of ‘hyperBot’ robots enter the ground via an arch of HDPE pipes. The robots then 3D-print the tunnel shell by deploying construction material directly into the ground.
PACO, the AI-driven painting and decorating robot, was created by chemical company Akzo-Nobel and robotics start-up Les Companions. The robot was designed to work in parallel with professional painters, relieving the pressure of strenuous and tedious jobs to help skilled workers to focus on the more complicated aspects of their jobs. It’s not known how PACO takes its tea or what its preferred radio station is.
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