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Robots to build cities of the future

Published : Saturday, 3 November, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 289
Tech Desk

Worldwide, the construction business is looking increasingly to robots as it confronts a shrinking and ageing workforce.
In the US, construction workers are also getting older. And 80% of US general contractors say they are having trouble filling vacancies for skilled workers, according to a survey in August.
There's a "clear trend", says MrSearock, "the younger generations are not going into the construction fields."
This is why Shimizu, a Japanese construction firm has invested 20 billion yen (£140m; $179m) since 2015 developing construction robots, says spokesman Hideo Imamura. Its robots reduce manpower needs for a given task by 70% to 80%, he says.
In the US, nearly half of construction jobs could be replaced by robots by 2057, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Midwest Economic Policy Institute.
As well as been tireless, robots can do the toughest, most dangerous jobs on a building site, potentially preventing injury and loss of life ,says Shinichi Sakamoto, 57, who is deputy head of Shimizu's production technology division.
"Work which suits robots is for robots, and work which suits humans is for humans," he explains.
In future, faster data speeds thanks to 5G, combined with lower latency - the time gap between a request and a response - means robots will be able to put more processing tasks into the cloud.
The end result is a cheaper, cleverer robot.
Shimizu currently controls its robots using 4G mobile and wi-fi, which means that when they work on buildings over 200m high, they have to extend the wi-fi network area using relays.
5G would free them from this dependence, says the firm.
Robots could then carry out hazardous or repetitive tasks on remote sites without the need for installing a wi-fi base station as long as 5G covers the range.

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