Construction robots weld, bolt, lift to beat worker shortage

Major Japanese construction company Shimizu Corp. has developed robots that can weld, lift and bolt for use at building sites.

The company on Monday demonstrated robots that can pick up a pile of boards and take them to an elevator. It says the Robo-Welder and Robo-Buddy, with twisting mechanical arms, will be deployed at construction sites later this year, though because of safety concerns they will be used during night shifts when most human workers are not around.

The company said that most construction work is so delicate and complex that the robots can handle only about 1 percent of the work.

Japan is undergoing a construction boom but lacks enough workers to do the jobs — a problem seen in many regions of the world, including the U.S.