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With rising construction costs, builders will need to find ways to create efficiencies and reduce where possible. Mapping onsite progress could lead to true, and overwhelmingly large, cost reductions. And, new technologies are making that possible.

Despite recent advances in computer-aided design, fabrication and project management, construction remains one of the most inefficient industries out there. According to analysts, a staggering 98 percent of large construction projects on average are delivered at 80 percent over budget and 20 months behind schedule. Even in countries with a reputation for efficiency, such as Germany and Japan, construction industry productivity has remained stagnant, while in the United States, it has actually dropped by half since the 1960s.

There are a number of broad-ranging factors behind this sad state of affairs, but Palo Alto, California startup Doxel is aiming to boost overall productivity by introducing autonomous, LIDAR-equipped robots and human-supervised airborne drones onto construction sites. The idea is to these deploy these machines daily so that they can use pulsed laser lights to monitor, track and map the progress of the day: what got installed, whether it was installed properly and whether overall productivity targets are being hit. See one of Doxel’s robot in action:

While humans typically try to manage such aspects on any given project, Doxel’s machines can detect and assess incorrect installations much more accurately than their human counterparts, thanks to their lasers and 3-D vision technology.

This information is laid out in a highly accurate and labeled three-dimensional map, then sent to the cloud, where it’s processed and analyzed by Doxel’s 3-D semantic deep-learning algorithms. Human managers are then alerted immediately of any issues, so that they can be fixed right away, instead of weeks (or even months) down the line.

Reacting in Minutes
Doxel’s robot- and AI-assisted approach to construction project management would address one of the factors behind lagging on-site productivity: spotting errors before they compound progressively into big, expensive headaches much later, which ultimately end up adding to a project’s budget overruns and late delivery.

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure,” said Doxel CEO and founder Saurabh Ladha.”Without real-time visibility into quality and progress, managers simply can’t boost productivity. Our turnkey solution literally tracks progress for hundreds of thousands of line items in project budgets and schedules, comparing actual performance to original plans. This is transformative for an entire capital project team. With Doxel’s system in place, project managers can react in minutes, not months, increasing productivity by [as much as] fifty percent and bringing in projects twenty-five percent under budget.”

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