Robotics will Transform Construction into a Manufacturing Process – Bharath Sankaran
Intreview of Bharath Sankaran, Co-Founder & CTO, Scaled Robotics, Barcelona
Being a roboticist with a background in computer vision, mobile manipulation and machine learning, I am fascinated by how motion and perception are related to each other. So, at Scaled Robotics we are rethinking the entire construction process.
“In order to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical construction needs to become a leaner manufacturing process, We need to adopt principles and practices from other six sigma manufacturing sectors and adapt them to construction.”
Construction is one of the world’s largest industries as it addresses the fundamental human need for shelter. Globally, nearly $10 trillion is spent on construction related goods and services, which accounts for approximately 6% of the world GDP. Yet it is one of the world’s most inefficient and wasteful manufacturing industries. There are estimates that the entire industry operates on a 1~2% margin due to waste and rework.
In addition, the productivity in construction has also flatlined over the last 50 years as opposed to other manufacturing industries where it has almost doubled. This is because the industry still heavily relies on out-dated tools and processes that were developed over a 100 years ago. This stems from the fact that though we design digitally we still build physically. At Scaled Robotics we are bridging the gap between digital design and physical reality by developing a new set of tools for the industry that will impact their processes from end to end. Our mission is to modernize construction with the help of Robotics and A.I. One of the first steps in this direction is the range of products that allow automated construction verification and autonomous progress monitoring.
Our autonomous robots give stakeholders the ability to constantly keep track of their construction projects to ensure that the built structure aligns with the digital model. This tool also allows construction stake holders to track critical variables and detect errors early in the construction process which ultimately prevents the costly downstream effects. The technology also coincides with the increasing adoption of BIM within the construction industry. This ensures moving the industry towards a more digitized manufacturing environment which creates a platform that can leverage from a data source, namely the BIM model. In the coming years, we see Robotics and A.I playing a greater role in construction by developing a whole new set of tools and processes that would also impact the physical building process directly. This transition would ultimately make construction a lean manufacturing process, as opposed to its current form which is extremely inefficient and wasteful.