Construction is dangerous work. Between the powerful equipment, hazardous materials, and often-precarious environments, it’s not all that surprising that construction workers experience frequent injuries. Even worse, of all the people who died on the job in 2016, more than one-fifth were working construction.
To prevent those injuries and perhaps even save some lives, various experts have suggested automating construction work. Now, a team of Japanese researchers has created its own construction robot.
Slow and Steady
Last week, researchers from Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute unveiled HRP-5P, a humanoid robot that uses a combination of software and sensors to complete several of the same tasks human construction workers tackle.
In a demo video, the nearly six-foot-tall construction robot autonomously hangs drywall, using its arms to pick up sheets and pin them into place before affixing them to the wall using power tools.
The bot isn’t quick about it, but it appears to carefully consider each move it makes. It never accidentally nails its robot hand to the wall the way a human worker might spear its flesh-and-bone one.
And hanging drywall is just the start — in a press release, the researchers note that future iterations of the robot could tackle any number of construction or assembly tasks on buildings or large aircraft and ships.
Built By Bots
Not only do HRP-5P’s creators believe the robot could keep construction workers out of dangerous situations, they also think it could help Japan address its labor shortage.
Still, it’s not hard to imagine other nations with plenty of construction workers choosing robots over their human counterparts. After all, robots can work longer hours, don’t ask for raises, and never get hurt.
If HRP-5P can just pick up the pace, it could be worker of a construction company’s dystopian dreams.
READ MORE: Humanoid Construction Robot Installs Drywall by Itself [Engadget]
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