Paving the Way

How Machine Control is providing the roadmap for the future of construction

By Luc Le Maire, senior vice president & general manager Positioning Solution Business Unit (EMEA) at Topcon Positioning Systems

Record population growth has driven sky-high demand for infrastructure in recent years. Construction is taking place on the largest of scales as a result, but those in the industry are also battling a plethora of issues – from increased building costs and the need to tackle carbon emissions, to a widening skills gap, lack of legislative support, and a reluctance to break away from more traditional practices.

In the ever-evolving landscape of construction technology, one solution that stands out in revolutionizing the way we map, measure, and maneuver is machine control. For many, it’s the key to taking our workflows to the next level.
Topcon’s recent report, The Future of Machine Control, underlines the fact that machine control is not just a technological tool, it’s a transformative force that can revamp the industry and address its most pressing challenges. Over 1,000 construction professionals across Europe took part in the research and highlighted machine control as the linchpin for attracting new talent, improving accuracy and achieving efficiency.

Here’s how machine control is influencing the bigger picture.

Driving sustainability
About half of the world’s carbon emissions are a direct result of the built environment. According to our findings, most professionals believe that the construction industry can meet net-zero targets by 2050. While 30% of respondents acknowledge sustainability as a key challenge, machine control emerged as the number one solution for achieving sustainability goals. By increasing accuracy, and ensuring work is carried out according to plan, machine control is providing a road map to a more efficient and sustainable future for construction.

Redefining precision
Machine control’s biggest impact is its ability to redefine precision and accuracy in construction applications. Utilizing advanced 3D LiDAR sensors along with GPS technology and GNSS correction services, machine control systems are enabling pinpoint precision in positioning and measurements. This translates to improved reliability and consistency, which improves the quality of work and, crucially, reduces costly rework.
Machine control systems allow professionals to focus on the bigger picture by removing the constraints of performing manual tasks. Not only does this save time and resources, but it also reduces human error, leading to results that are consistent and dependable.

Optimizing workflow
Construction and earthworks, which are traditionally dominated by operating heavy machinery, are experiencing a paradigm shift with the integration of machine control. With the power of automation, machine control guides excavators, graders and dozers with real-time load and land data, ensuring every move aligns precisely with the plan. This not only offers an optimized workflow, but also ensures safety on site and the correct utilization of resources.

Attracting new talent
Machine control is key to attracting new talent and improving the construction workforce. Our report shows that nearly a third of senior industry professionals consider skills shortages one of the biggest challenges they face on earthworks projects. Three quarters of respondents believe that incorporating automation technologies can bring new talent to the industry, and more than three quarters (77%) see it as the main factor in helping reduce the skills gap.
Despite the obvious benefits, machine control has a low rate of adoption across the sector. Our report found that only 22% of small companies use machine control in some capacity, while 42% of larger organizations have adopted it on their projects. Professionals believe that lack of government initiatives and resistance to change in senior decision makers are the main barriers causing this pace of uptake.

It’s evident that machine control is not just an enabler of the modern construction industry, but the force that is steering it towards its goals. Delivering accuracy, unlocking efficiency, and improving sustainability, machine control is the architect of tomorrow’s construction landscape.

Website Topcon Positioning

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