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Cai, S, Ma, Z, Skibniewski, M J and Guo, J (2020) Construction Automation and Robotics: From One-Offs to Follow-Ups Based on Practices of Chinese Construction Companies. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 146(10).

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Automation and robotics; Research and development (R&D); Follow-up issue; Construction company;
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001910
  • Abstract:
    The follow-up issue is one of the major factors that limit the application of construction automation and robotics. Specifically, many research results with fundamentally good ideas end up gathering dust on a shelf without any follow-up research and development (R&D) or applications. Nevertheless, some construction companies have successful experience in the follow-up issue. Therefore, this study presents and analyzes the processes from R&D to follow-ups of four representative Chinese construction companies that developed their own automation and robotic products and implemented them continuously. Based on the four cases, an intercase analysis was conducted, and 11 influential factors that lead to successful follow-ups were identified. To understand the identified factors effectively, they were then categorized according to an existing theoretical framework, i.e., the technology–organization–environment (TOE) framework, which is widely used in studies on innovation adoption. As a result, four technological factors (interdisciplinary cooperation, continuous R&D, pilot test, and technological foresight), five organizational factors (company size, human resources, development strategies, organizational structure, and management system), and two environmental factors (market demand and competitive pressure) are obtained. Suggestions are proposed for both the technology providers and adopters, such as establishing industrial alliances, training interdisciplinary personnel and skilled workers, and expanding the business scope to promote wider implementations. It is expected to be valuable for the stakeholders in many countries and regions with the need to implement construction automation and robotics because the analysis has not been confined to the practice in China.