The ‘Gardens by the Bay’ are home to 100,000 thriving plants–but for the entire setup to work, the designers had to figure out a way to protect the eerily-designed structures against the strong winds that hit Singapore.
The Gardens by the Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares in the Central Region of Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.
There’s a lot of buzz around self-driving cars, but autonomous-driving technology could revolutionize a different industry first — construction. That industry hasn’t changed much over the last several decades, according to some experts, making it an ideal candidate for automation.
“The way we build today is largely unchanged from the way we used to build 50 years ago,” said Gaurav Kikani, vice president of Built Robotics. “Within two years, I think we’re really going to turn the corner, and you’re going to see an explosion of robotics being used on construction sites.”
The industry is also faced with a labor shortage that the Covid-19 pandemic has further complicated. “Covid is making people step back and say, ‘hey, the way we’ve been doing things for a long time is just not sustainable,’” said Kevin Albert, founder and CEO of Canvas. “It is just a wake-up call for the industry.”
Canvas is one of several companies working on autonomous construction technology. Big players like Caterpillar and Komatsu, and start-ups like SafeAI and Built Robotics, see value in using autonomous machines to accelerate construction projects. The mining industry was one of the first to employ the use of self-driving tech.
Caterpillar began its first autonomy program more than 30 years ago. The company now has the largest fleet of autonomous haul trucks. Caterpillar says it’s hauled 2 billion metric tons in just over six years. Built Robotics is a San Francisco-based start-up founded by an ex-Google engineer that already has machinery out in the field. It’s automated several pieces of equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators.
“You can now collapse your construction timeline so you can knock out work overnight so that it’s ready for your human workers in the morning to speed them along,” Kikani said. SafeAI is another Silicon Valley start-up. It recently teamed up with Obayashi for a pilot program. It’s been retrofitting equipment like dump trucks, bulldozers and loaders. Robots are also helping inside.
San Francisco-based Canvas created an autonomous machine for finishing drywall and has worked on projects like the San Francisco International Airport and Chase Arena. Humans work alongside its robotic system. “Drywall is very hard work on the body,” Albert said. “And we’ve seen that 1 out of every 4 workers has to end their career early because of injuries. This will create longer careers for people and also enable people to join the trades that haven’t had access before.”
The construction industry is one of the largest sectors in the global economy, with about $10 trillion spent each year. That spending accounts for 13% of the world’s GDP, even though the sector’s annual productivity growth has only increased 1% over the past 20 years. According to McKinsey & Co., $1.6 trillion of additional value could be created through higher productivity, and autonomy would help the industry achieve that.
2020 is officially the busiest hurricane season on record and flooding is one of a storm’s most devastating consequences. FEMA estimates one inch of flood water can cause up to $25,000 in damage. The U.S. began offering nationalize flood insurance in 1968 but the program, called the NFIP, is now over $20 billion in debt. Private companies are starting to offer flood insurance as well. However, flood insurance is more complicated than it may appear. Watch the video to better understand how flood insurance works, and doesn’t work, in the U.S.
Unwelcome when it was first proposed, San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid has overcome public opinion, economics and the extreme challenges of its location to become one of the world’s most famous buildings.
The Transamerica Pyramid at 600 Montgomery Street between Clay and Washington Streets in the Financial District of San Francisco, California, United States, is a 48-story futurist building and the second-tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline.