A structural engineering professor and his team at the University of British Columbia recently tested a collection of AI-powered smart construction robots with the aim of making job sites smarter and safer.
Professor Dr. Tony Yang and team developed the AI-fitted cranes and forklifts to perform basic tasks that workers perform, such as lifting and moving objects around a job site, autonomously transporting materials, and monitoring sites for safety issues.
The UBC team recently demonstrated the concept at a construction site on Mitchell Island in Richmond, B.C.
Aerial drones fitted with cameras captured details that were then used to create a digital twin of the site. The cranes and forklifts used this information to move construction materials such as beams and columns around the actual site, navigating around obstacles without needing a human operator.
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“Our smart construction robots are able to recognize objects, performing detailed scans of structural components for quality assurance. They can precisely place objects on site and check against a computer model to ensure they’re building according to plan. They can make autonomous decisions such as navigating around obstacles or instantly stopping work to protect a worker who is in danger,” said Dr. Yang.
Dr. Yang is working with several B.C. construction companies to find opportunities to use smart robots in commercial building projects.
“Our made-in-Canada technology is ready to deploy now and can be quickly scaled up, helping to elevate Canadian construction and making us more competitive on the global stage.” said Dr. Yang.