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The robots are building things now

Published Oct 3rd, 2018 2:32PM EDT
robot construction worker

We all know by now that the robot apocalypse is coming. It won’t happen tomorrow, or the next day, or even next year, but at some point in the future we’ll all be slaves to AI-powered bots of our own creation. It’ll be a rough time for humans but it’s not here yet, which means that in the meantime we can exploit robot labor! Hooray!

Japanese engineers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology group are helping us realize that dream with the development of a robot called HRP-5P. This plucky bot can build… stuff, and it does so without take lunch breaks or whining about unions. Truly it is superior to humans in every way.

Standing nearly six feet tall and weighing over 220 pounds, the robot walks and moves a lot like a (somewhat stiff) human. It has a whole suite of sensors that it uses to monitor its surroundings and recognize objects that it can manipulate with its mechanical claws.

According to AIST, the development of the prototype could eventually yield a robot capable of assisting humans in building large structures like buildings or even aircraft. The company showcased the bot’s abilities in a video where the robot applies drywall to a wall frame, placing it in the correct spot and then securing it with a nail gun that fits perfectly in its rigid mitts.

The demonstration looks fairly simple from the outside but the complexity of the robot itself is obvious. The team sees the robot as a potential solution to a lack of workers willing to perform manual labor in the future.

“Along with the declining birthrate and the aging of the population, it is expected that many industries such as the construction industry will fall into serious manual shortages in the future, and it is urgent to solve this problem by robot technology,” AIST explains. “Also, at work sites assembling very large structures such as building sites and assembling of aircraft / ships, workers are carrying out dangerous heavy work work, and it is desired to replace these tasks with robot technology.”