As highlighted last week, the farming industry has been using driverless technology for more than a decade. This week, we showcase the drones and automated machines preparing for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
When people talk about the “Age of Machines,” it’s usually in the context of a frantic warning against robots stealing jobs from humans. Amidst the negative noise, however, there’s another side to this technological advancement: Instead of leaving people jobless, innovative companies are finding ways for machines to complement human laborers in order to meet some major talent needs.
The construction industry in Japan, for instance, is facing an aging workforce just as thousands of building projects break ground in preparation for Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics. In January, Tokyo-based construction-equipment company Komatsu announced its plans to mitigate the talent shortage by using drones and driverless bulldozers on construction sites.
The drones, made by San Francisco-based Skycatch, Inc., send images from the air to computers in order build 3D models of construction sites. The models are then used to pre-program routes for driverless bulldozers and excavators, instructing where to dig holes and move earth.
According to Akinori Onodera, president of Komatsu’s Smart Construction unit, a construction site that used to require two employees and a week’s worth of work can now be scanned by airborne drones in just one to two hours.
Onodera told The Wall Street Journal he sees nothing but a bright future for automation in the construction industry.
Want more? Look out for other emerging driverless technologies from our ongoing Futuristic Fleet series.