Construction will lag in driverless vehicle uptake

16 July 2019

A driverless dumper used by contractor CA Blackwell

The adoption of driverless vehicles is likely to be slower than in other industries because of the inherent complexity and rugged conditions involved in construction sites.

That’s according to a report by technology consultancy Arthur D Little, which surveyed more than 30 industry and technology experts.

They concluded that the vast majority of machines on construction sites will need human operators for the next 10 to 15 years, apart from certain niche applications such as haulage trucks.

That would put the sector behind mining, warehouses and other locations where hundreds of vehicles already run driverless with Level 3 automation and are expected to advance in capability in the near future.

Alexander Krug, partner at Arthur D Little, commented: “The autonomous ‘pioneer’ applications of today and the close future all have similar characteristics, many of which are not fulfilled by the majority of construction machinery. They have a high utilisation duty cycle, but construction machines are often multi-purpose and have very low utilisation. They operate in a closed-off work environment, but building sites are complex and dynamic and machines that are only used for a limited time at changing locations.” 

To read more about the report, go to


Should driver less vehicles ever be used on construction sites considering even today we still have more deaths each year than any other industry. Yes were getting much better and safer but introducing driver less heavy duty machines on construction sites is asking for trouble not to mention the jobs that would go too. I wonder in the future whether will ever need to actually do a days work.

Benjamin Sewell, 16 July 2019

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