Japanese contractor Shimizu is planning to deploy its construction robots to work on a high-rise building site in Osaka.
The company is currently carrying out trials of autonomously controlled construction robots inside the Robot Laboratory at its Institute of Technology in Etchujima Tokyo.
Developed by Shimizu, the robots play various roles such as conveying materials horizontally, welding steel columns or installation of ceiling boards.
In the next fiscal year, the company plans to put them to work at several large construction sites in Tokyo.
At the beginning of 2016, Shimizu started development of the Shimz Smart Site, a next-generation production system in which robots and humans will partner to take forward construction projects.
After investing more than JPY1bn over an 18-month period on intensive teamwork with universities and partners from other industries, the company has completed the basic development and is now ready for the next phase.
The robots that are undergoing autonomous control testing at the laboratory include the Robo-Carrier, the Robo-Welder and the Robo-Buddy.
The Robo-Carrier links with a temporary elevator to transport the supplies to the designated spot entirely unmanned.
A robotic arm integrated with the Robo-Welder uses laser shape measurement to determine the contours of a groove, or channel, on a steel column to be welded.
The Robo-Buddy has full control over two robotic arms with freedom of movement along six axes. The company is checking its ability to install boards at the high-rise building in Osaka.
Instructions sent by an operator through a tablet will be carried out by the robots autonomously.
At the laboratory, the company is verifying the ability of the robots to autonomously respond to different patterns of work instructions, and adjust the programming governing their operation accordingly.