Drones, Rovers & Job Losses: The Future Of AI In Construction

Drones, Rovers & Job Losses: The Future Of AI In Construction

(Infographic available here)

Over the last few years Artificial Intelligence has gradually become more and more prominent in the construction sector, this article looks at the benefits of this new technology, as well as the negative impact it’s having on the sector’s current workforce.

We’ll start with highlighting why Artificial Intelligence is being implemented and how it will be applied to the sector where it will hugely benefit risk mitigation, safety and the generative design process. After that we’ll look at the negatives of introducing into the construction sector, which mainly surrounds the current workforce losing jobs. We’ll even show you a timeline of when experts believe the average construction site will become human-free.

And finally, we’ll show you some of the robots that will be taking over!

The construction sector is seeing a large increase in the amount of Artificial Intelligence being implemented into the industry. So, what are the benefits and how will this impact the people currently working in this sector?

Why is AI Needed?

The main reason why AI is being introduced into the construction sector is due to the shortfall of workers to complete housing targets set by the UK government.

According to leading design and consultancy firm ACARDIS…  “British construction must recruit over 400,000 people each and every year between now and 2021 – equivalent to one worker every 77 seconds – if it is to create the homes and infrastructure the nation needs”

ARCADIS also state that this figure also does NOT take into account the number of migrant workers the UK would miss out on thanks to Brexit, by 2020, making achieving these numbers seemingly impossible.

Timeline to a human-free Construction Site

With the amount of AI being introduced, many have predicted that the construction site of the future could soon be completely human free.

Applications of AI in the Construction Sector

So how can AI help relieve this potential shortfall: Generative Design

The design process for new buildings can take a lot of deliberating, which option is best? Where’s the best place to put this? With generative design, all that decision making is done for you.

Risk Mitigation

Using “Construction Language Analysis” from tools such as Autodesk’s BIM360 software, algorithms are able to understand and predict complex things like whether that would cause a potential water infiltration if not addressed.


Safety is the number one priority when on site so any advancements in technology in this area is always welcome.

Body Movement & Form

Researchers from Waterloo University Canada, are using AI technology and scanning software to scan the body movement of bricklayers to analyse form, thus reducing injury while on the job and training is enhanced.

Facial & Object Recognition

Using cameras and AI together can allow a construction site to become safer and more secure as recognition software can analyse each individual staff member to make sure they are qualified to use equipment. Recognition software can also access objects such as this software from SMARTVID.IO that tags everything it sees.


There are 5 key areas where using drones comes in helpful on a construction site.

Negative Impacts

Despite the many benefits of AI in construction, there are some drawbacks, mainly regarding the existing workforce.

Job Losses

New research from Mace predicts that 600,000 jobs could be lost within the construction industry out of the 2.2 million positions currently held, all of which will be lost to automation by 2040. The hardest hit is forecasted to be brick-layers with 73,000 workers expected to drop to only 4,300.

Introducing The Robots

Here are a few examples of robots that will be taking over the construction/building site.

WALT AIPainting & Decorating = Walt The Bot

Walt The Bot can paint a wall 30 times faster than a human. Fitted with wheels to allow movement it’s upper section consists of a pulley and belt system fitted with a spray gun. Walt can reach up to 14 feet currently and is controlled via an app.

SAM AIBricklaying = SAM

SAM or Semi-Automated-Mason, can lay bricks 6 times faster than a human. The company behind the robot Construction Robotics, say that it can lay 3,000 bricks per day, with an average bricklayer only being able to manage 500.


Doxel uses their robots to monitor jobsite progress with real-time actionable data. With the use of autonomous drones and rovers, these bots photograph and scan the construction site with pinpoint accuracy. These photographs can then be compared against BIM models, schedules and estimates, determining how much progress is being made.






Drones, Rovers & Job Losses: The Future Of AI In Construction