Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, or AIST, has developed a humanoid robot that can carry out simple construction tasks, like installing drywall. You can watch in the video how the HRP-5P robot steps up to a piece of drywall, uses hooks to maneuver it into its rotating hands, and nails it into the wall. First spotted by TechCrunch, the robot works about as fast as a teen doing Habitat for Humanity, but still, it gets the job done.
AIST imagines the HRP-5P being used on construction sites in response to Japan’s aging population and labor shortages. The research institute is aiming for autonomous replacement of labor at assembly sites for large structures, such as buildings, houses, aircrafts, and ships.
The robot first maps out its environment, and detects objects using high-precision AI markers. AIST
This development makes true a couple of predictions that have been years in the making. According to a 2013 Oxford University study that quantifies the likelihood of job automation, it actually places the extremely specific job of ‘Drywall Installer’ at a 79 percent chance of being replaced by robots. The construction industry has long been wary of outsourcing labor to robots, and there’s already quite a few (non-humanoid) robots that can carry out tasks like bricklaying, carpentry, and tile-setting.
The second prediction is one that’s been right in front of our faces all along: all of these stock photos of robot contractors installing drywall, which exist for some reason. Life really does imitate art.