Autonomous robots, smart roads, 3D printing and concrete that heals on its own … these are just some of the possible technologies that we can see in the construction industry in the near future.
The construction industry is always changing and adapting to new demands, processes and technologies. Trying to predict what is coming, can be a complicated challenge.
Nobody wants to be replaced in their work by a machine, but construction robots can be a possibility in the not too long term. The first advances for the creation of this type of robots are inspired by termite colonies. These robots will be able to self-organize and work in teams to build structures. Construction plans would be installed on the robots, along with a regulation of things that “should not be done” during work.
The benefit of these robot-workers would be the ability to build in locations of difficult access for humans, the main disadvantage would be the loss of jobs.
One of the first prototypes was presented in 2015, during the World of Concrete event. This robot, called SAM (Semi-Automated Mason), had the ability to build cement and brick walls at a speed of 3,000 bricks a day, this is at a speed 6 times higher than a regular human worker.
This technology is already part of our present. There are already 3D printers to build houses and small buildings. One of the first structures of this type was built in Russia. The printing process took only 24 hours and is very similar to other projects of this nature in architecture. The idea is simply to put a 3D printer, which resembles an industrial machine, which uses cement to generate the parts it requires, in this case the walls, and finally print them, layer by layer, of cement. The total cost was approximately $ 10,134 dollars – not including furniture, decoration or appliances.
The machines do not yet have the capacity to do all the construction work. The roof, the insulation, the windows and other components, should be placed later by human workers.
This technology seems so far, a very good idea, but we will see how things develop in the future.
This type of roads would incorporate technologies that will allow electric car batteries to recharge while they circulate. The benefit would be to reduce the need to stop charging or recharge less battery, and decrease the consumption of fossil fuels.
Another proposal to these smart roads is the creation of solar roads. Engineers Scott and Julie Brusaw have been researching and developing this possibility since 2006, their goal is to replace the traditional pavement with solar panels that fit together, which can generate electricity to the certainty that provide a sustainable surface on which they will be transported the vehicles.
Although the benefits of these types of roads sound wonderful, cost is still an element to consider. The bicycle road that was built in Holland had an estimated cost of $ 3.7 million. A recent study revealed that migrating to smart roads would increase road maintenance costs by 40%.
This concrete would be a mixture of traditional concrete with sodium silicate capsules that, when broken, would release a gel-shaped agent that hardens to fill in the possible cracks when they occur. The advantages of this technology would be the elimination of cracks in concrete and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
A group of MIT biological engineers experiment with new methods to convert carbon dioxide emissions into solid carbonates and useful building materials. These materials could represent a new alternative for the use of glass.
Within this category would also enter permeable concrete, which although they have already been used in the construction industry, are not yet a currently accepted material. Permeable, or porous, pavements can help prevent flooding and may also reduce the need to build ponds to store water.
Do you know other technologies that could innovate construction techniques? Do you think that some of these proposals will not come true? Share your opinions with us!