Japan is experimenting with robotic bulldozers and drones for construction because there aren’t enough workers
As Japan prepares for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, its become clearer that their massive labor shortage is becoming a big problem.
So Komatsu, the second largest construction company in the world based in Japan, is turning away from human workers to robotics.
Restrictions to visas for blue-collar workers has caused the worst labor shortage in 20 years for Japan, Bloomberg reported.
Japan needs more than 25,000 workers to assist with the construction of stadiums, arenas, and other Olympic facilities, and the country’s aging population trend has resulted in a deficit of young labor.
To help remedy the situation, Komatsu is working on a new service called Smart Construction that can get the necessary jobs done without human construction workers, the Verge first reported. Smart Construction comes with robotic bulldozers that can push and pick up dirt and rocks without anyone behind the wheel.
The robo-bulldozers are led by drones, which map the area in real-time to provide data on the amount of cement and dirt being pushed around. Only one or two humans need to be on site to take over in the event something goes wrong.
Komatsu uses drones built by an American startup called Skycatch (Komatsu recently invested $25 million during a round of funding for Skycatch). The Skycatch drones reduce the margin of error and reduce the amount of time needed to complete a project.
Although Skycatch is an American company, we may not see this kind of construction anytime soon. Skycatch intends to continue working in Japan, according to the report.