Tools down: Singapore’s training bots and drones to digitize construction work

Research agency and housing board sign a deal as COVID-19 makes manpower and materials scarce

Singapore's industrial research agency has started work on 5G-enabled drones that use LiDAR and cameras to monitor construction sites, then send the data they collect to systems that create digital models of buildings that change in real time.

The island nation’s research hub – Agency for Science, Technology and Research, aka A*STAR – has signed deals with the country’s Housing and Development Board to develop the technologies, and commercialize the results.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the supply of building materials and manpower within the construction industry,” said A*STAR's canned statement announcing the new alliance this month.

The agency now plans to build flying, wheeled, and legged robots to capture data from building sites.

Battery depleting

Hyundai and Singapore's top telco plan electric vehicle battery subscriptions


“There is thus a strong impetus for the industry to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies and digitalization to help us build faster, safer and more efficiently.”

Today, the industry uses “manual and labor-intensive” processes to develop models of building towards the end of construction projects. The two government agencies hope to replace those with models created in real-time, thanks to scans conducted by robots.

The agencies imagine that CCTV systems and onsite safety officers will be replaced by high-definition real-time videos captured wirelessly through cameras mounted on the robots and drones. Safety lapses such as not wearing a helmet or harness, or other unsafe behaviors, will be detected by AI and ML, then reported to a human on-site.

Trials are expected to take two-and-half years. Commercialization? Nobody's saying. But A*STAR has form turning research into reality, and jobs for Singapore: the city state's status as a hard disk research and manufacturing hub is in part attributable to the agency throwing money at basic research in decades past, thereby creating a pool of skilled people for the industry to tap. ®

Broader topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022