MassRobotics and Autodesk teamed up at Autodesk’s BUILD Space in June to talk about how robotics and automated construction technologies can help efficiently build the future. This event brought together representatives from the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry with others from the technology and robotics industry to discuss both obstacles and possibilities to streamline next steps in getting construction and robotics on the same page.

Automation and robotics have helped the manufacturing, retail, and agriculture industries increase productivity by 1,500% since 1945 (McKinsey 2017). In contrast, construction productivity has remained relatively stagnant during the same time. For the robotics industry, construction presents many potential use cases and unique applications that can utilize a variety of evolving technologies including: drones, ground robotics, tele-operation, machine vision, additive manufacturing, assistive robotics. Many of these AEC applications fit into the automation 3 D’s; Dull, Dirty, Dangerous. This makes these applications best suited for more robotics and automation.

The event started with opening remarks from Autodesk’s Jim Lynch who was followed by speakers from companies such as Humatics, Perkins + Will, Skanska, Ascend Robotics, and ORI discussing topics ranging from Autonomous Vehicles and Machinery to Automating Tools and Assistive and Adaptive Technology. During lunch, tours and demonstrations were given of Autodesk residents throughout the facility. Additional speakers included Robert P. Muller from NASA, Nathan Melenbrink from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard, Russell Loveridge from the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR), and Conor Walsh founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab.

Final remarks were given by Fady Saad, MassRobotic’s Director of Partnerships. Fady stressed the importance of how this event will kick off the formation of an alliance that will utilize Massachusetts and New England’s unparalleled concentration of robotics, automation and AI brainpower, startups’ activities, and testing infrastructure. He also highlighted that this collaboration would help direct the startup and investment communities to the unique innovation and business opportunities in AEC, in turn making both industries stronger in the future.

As part of Autodesk’s partnership with MassRobotics, they provide residents access to software licenses/discounts including the Product Design Collection, with Fusion 360, and the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection. The Autodesk BUILD Space highlights hands-on collaboration with workshop equipment and studio.