Construction and engineering firms could soon see new technology become commonplace on-site, including 3D printed walls, self-assembled floating buildings and even deliveries via drones.
According to a report by Dr Ian Pearson, who was commissioned by both Colmore Tang Construction and Virgin StartUp, drones could be put to work carrying payloads to building sites as early as 2025.
Dr Pearson has also suggested that plastic bottles recovered from the sea could be recycled to create biometric buildings.
Other predictions include the routine use, of artificial intelligence (AI) within the next ten years, with sensors and cameras linked around construction sites, as a quality assurance tool to ensure buildings are being developed in accordance with the architect’s original plans.
Taking a longer view, Dr Pearson predicts that in 50 years’ time, self-assembling buildings under AI control will allow a new form of structure, known as kinetic architecture, which involves materials being thrown into the air and assembled while gravity forms the materials into designs.
3D printing is already a reality and Dr Pearson believes this technology will be increasingly utilised to build cheaper homes more quickly, in a bid to solve the housing crisis.
Colmore Tang Construction and Virgin StartUp have together set up a £10 million innovation fund called ‘ConstrucTech’. Funding will be available to companies that can demonstrate how their innovation and technology could improve the construction and engineering sector’s productivity, sustainability and skills issues.
Adam Davis, a Partner and Head of Palmers Construction Law team, said: “The construction and engineering sectors are constantly embracing new technology with advances such as BIM and 3D printing now commonplace and the development of newer, better materials such as self-healing concrete and more environmentally-friendly asphalt.
“This report will no doubt provide food for thought for everyone involved in the industry and although some of the predictions may sound like something from a sci-fi novel, it is inevitable that further technological changes will impact on the construction and engineering sectors and we will need to plan ahead to ensure we are ready to embrace these changes.”
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