Demands and Satisfiers for Automation and Robotics in Construction: Differences Between Japan and the United States

by Hiroshi Saito, Japan Highway Public Corp, Tokyo, Japan,
John G. Everett, Japan Highway Public Corp, Tokyo, Japan,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Robotics for Challenging Environments

Abstract:

The construction industries in Japan and the United States face problems of productivity, quality, safety, and skilled labor shortages. Automation and robotics are often proposed as solutions to some of these problems. In the past ten to fifteen years, many prototype robots have been developed, but few practical examples can be found on construction sites today. Nevertheless, several large Japanese contractors are aggressively pursuing R&D programs to introduce robots on construction sites. United States contractors exhibit little interest. This paper evaluates construction automation and robotics technology in the context of its ability to satisfy the often conflicting demands of managers and owners, workers, and society in the United States and in Japan. In the United States, there is weak demand for construction automation and robotics. In fact, there may be considerable resistance. It is not surprising that technological developments to have had difficulty gaining acceptance at the work site. In Japan, there is a great deal of demand for automation and robotics, much of it coming from workers and society in general. Technological developments have shown a strong ability to satisfy workers' and social demands, even if managers' and owners' demands of increased productivity, increased speed, and improved quality and safety have not been well satisfied. Differences in cultural, economic, and business practices help explain why construction automation and robotics hardware is generating so much activity and investment in Japan while researchers in the United States focus on software.



Subject Headings: Occupational safety | Labor | Construction sites | Automation | Robotics | Construction management | Contractors and subcontractors | Managers | Japan | Asia | United States

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