The impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry, autonomous machinery and more

Vian Le
March 6, 2020

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1. The impact of COVID-19 on the construction supply chain

On February 18th, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) released a webinar with three experts in supply chain risk: Peter Kapler of Aon, Cheri Hanes of AXA XL and Andrea Lee of Glaholt Bowles. As was stated in the webinar, the impact to the construction supply chain isn’t a question of “If” but rather a question of “when.” To address the impact of COVID-19, Hanes laid out short term and long term best practices that those in the construction community can adopt to minimize the impact of supply chain disruption due to the pandemic.

2. Fully autonomous construction equipment by San Francisco-based Built Robotics

Built Robotics has developed an AI guidance system that can be retrofitted to existing construction machinery, such as excavators and bulldozers. The final product is a large black box, which can be integrated into a machine that uses hydraulic systems. The technology uses similar sensors to self-driving cars, but with the added capability of being able to simultaneously map and alter the landscape around the machine. Users can log into an online platform to input data and program the machine to perform specific tasks. Remote control capabilities are also available, but humans are not typically expected to supervise.

3. How Eave is protecting worker's from hazardous noise with a hearing conservation system

Eave, a smart technology company, has developed a digital headset that monitors and maps noise exposure, displaying it via a cloud based software platform. The data is automatically analyzed to produce accurate information about each worker’s noise exposure across a workplace or site. Eave headsets also use ‘hear through’ technology, allowing wearers to continue to hear environmental sound, vastly improving the safety of workers.

4. Soaring demand for crane operators in the Greater Toronto Area

Crane operators have been called the “rock stars” of construction, willing to work for hours in isolation at dizzying heights, manipulating machinery to hoist steel beams and other heavy materials around congested building sites. Demand for the operators is soaring in and around Toronto, where close to 120 cranes rise from projects across the metropolitan area. In this article, Mathew Tiburcio gives his perspective on what it takes to be a crane operator in Toronto, Canada.

5. The next generation of compact track loaders and skid steers from Case Construction Equipment

At World of Concrete 2020, Case Construction Equipment launched the B Series which includes five CTLs and eight skid steers spanning radial and vertical lift patterns, as well as numerous horsepower and size classes. Product manager George MacIntyre says, "The B Series retains the styling of previous Case loaders, yet critical operational systems have been re-engineered for greater performance, and fully integrated with new control and operator interfaces to give contractors a powerful match of productivity, efficiency and convenience".

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