Homebuilders have been pointing to a severe labor shortage of contractors that are prompting project delays and new-home prices to rise. Could they turn to robots to make up for the shortage of workers?
Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute is showing off a humanoid bot called HRP-5P that can complete several construction tasks, such as installing drywall by hoisting up boards and fastening them in with a screwdriver. The robot could be used to handle tasks that pose serious hazards or when builders face staffing shortages.
The robot moves cautiously, with numerous detection sensors of the environment and object recognition to make its movements careful. But researchers point to the huge potential for such a prototype in the building industry, which has faced a labor shortage over the last few years.
Eighty-three percent of builders say they’ve had to raise home prices because of the shortage, and 73 percent say they can’t complete projects on time without more manpower, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.