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It’s Time For Builders to Accept Robots

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Built Robotics’ technology can allow bulldozers and backhoes to pilot themselves.

When some builders hear about the use of robots or automation in their work, they experience fear and anxiety about losing their jobs or being declared obsolete. But their reluctance may also be preventing them from taking important steps forward in the ever-evolving construction industry.

Chris Treml, the director of construction training for the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), recently told WIRED that it’s time for the union’s members to become familiar with the tech, since it is set to become an industry standard. “The last thing I want to see is people losing their jobs,” he told the magazine. “But this is something that’s out there and it’s going to be part of our industry, and so we want to be a part of it.”

IUOE has made that leap through its partnership with Built Robotics, a San Francisco startup that will help the union grow its fleet of autonomous vehicles. According to WIRED, the company provides technology that can allow backhoes and bulldozers pilot themselves, with the help of high-powered computers, motion and angle sensors, and laser scanners.

But builders should not start planning to make cuts to their teams. Even with these advancements, Treml tells the magazine that workers will be needed, since the current technology can only aid with specific tasks and not complex work or planning. “You still need to have that human touch,” he states.

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