Built Robotics CEO Noah Ready-Campbell poses for a picture in front of the company's autonomous track loader Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Now the former Google engineer is turning that dream into a reality with Built Robotics, a startup company that's developing technology to allow bulldozers, excavators and other construction vehicles to operate themselves.Backed by venture capital, tech startups are developing robots, drones, software and other technologies to help the construction industry to boost speed, safety and productivity. Autonomous machines are changing the nature of construction work in an industry that's struggling to find enough skilled workers while facing a backlog of building projects.Workers at Berich Masonry in Englewood, Colorado, recently spent several weeks learning how to operate a bricklaying robot known as SAM. That's short for Semi-Automated Mason, a $400,000 machine which is made by Victor, New York-based Construction Robotics. The machine can lay about 3,000 bricks in an eight-hour shift – several times more than a mason working by hand.Working on a scaffold, workers loaded the machine with bricks and scraped off excess mortar left behind by the robot.The rise of construction robots comes as the building industry faces a severe labor shortage.
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