The construction industry is on the brink of a revolution as the global autonomous construction equipment market is projected to grow 28.7% from 2018 to 2026. The largest influencers of the boom in the use of autonomous construction equipment are the safety benefits of autonomous equipment and improvements in guidance technologies such as GPS. The first notable implementations of autonomous construction equipment have been in the mining industry. Since 2015, autonomous dum-trucks have been utilized in iron-ore mines in Western Australia. The verdict on their use is overwhelmingly positive. The autonomous dump-trucks represent a new frontier of efficiency, productivity, and safety.
Major Companies Announce Projects and Partnerships
Producers of autonomous construction equipment have taken notice of this small scale experiment. In 2017, a major construction equipment manufacturer and a major graphics processing unit (GPU) developer announced a partnership to develop GPU technologies that would enable rendering and interpretation of construction operations. Subsequently, other major global construction equipment manufacturers announced plans to pursue autonomous construction equipment development and manufacturing. The success of the Western Australian mining autonomous dump-truck experiment and the wave of announcements by major construction equipment manufacturers it created have contributed to an increasingly positive outlook for the global autonomous construction equipment market.
Venture Capitalists express strong confidence in future expansion
Despite the recent successful implementations of autonomous construction equipment and announcements by major construction equipment manufacturers, some may doubt the market growth potential, but venture capitalists have already started expressing their confidence in the future market growth by investing. The receiver of such investment was a small start-up that develops self-driving bulldozers. The company reportedly received $15 million (USD) to continue with development and suitability of their product for the global market. Several other start-ups have garnered the attention of venture capitalists, and the race to develop and commercialize autonomous construction equipment technologies is intensifying.
The construction industry stand to gain from autonomous tech
Safety concerns, costs, and regulations are a major impetus to autonomy. The construction industry has largely been stagnant with a combined market value of $10 trillion (USD), and some believe this is due to safety concerns, associated costs, and government regulations. Autonomous construction equipment has emerged as a possible solution to increasing safety, efficiency, and profitability. The projected growth by 2026 is substantial. Many major companies have already made announcements of plans to enter the market. Small start-ups are also increasingly developing autonomous construction equipment technologies. Venture capital investment is a supporter of the projections that the market is set to expand rapidly in the next decade. Autonomous construction equipment technologies are set to substantially change the construction industry and the world around us.