The global autonomous cranes market is expected to witness growth from 2020 to 2027 owing to the digital transformation and technological advancements. Autonomous systems are gaining momentum across several end-use industries such as construction, electric power industry, agriculture, manufacturing, defense, and medical. The functionalities of these systems have significantly expanded in recent years, with high profile success achieved in defense and military applications. This can be attributed to the potential benefits of autonomy in both risk and operational cost reduction. Automation is gaining momentum as a way of optimizing both the design and the application sectors. AI-driven autonomous machinery is set to witness substantial growth in the upcoming years, likely to considerably improve efficiency, reduce human errors, cut costs and realization time, and reduce workplace-related damages.
Autonomous technology has marked its presence in several end-use industries/sectors and the construction industry is not left untouched. Several varieties of heavy equipment used at construction sites, including cranes, are witnessing technological advancements. With vast advancements over recent years, autonomous cranes are expected to witness high potential growth opportunities across several end-use verticals, including construction, mining, industrial, and marine in the near future.
Crane manufacturers are utilizing research and development capabilities of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) companies to automate their systems with automation capabilities. The AEC industry consists of distinct players that work collectively by incorporating these seemingly independent units into a single industry. Architects, engineers, and contractors can work more effectively together to attain a common goal.
A growing number of AEC companies, such as INTSITE Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based company have started to embrace automation and machine learning for streamlining services and developing autonomous cranes. For instance, in 2018, INTSITE Ltd., announced that it raised a USD 1.35 million pre-seed investment by the Israel Innovation Authority and Terra Venture Partners to fund its autonomous crane technology. INTSITE intended to invest the funds into the further development of its platform that uses computer vision for analyzing real-time camera feeds, thus ensuring that crane operators are well-versed of workers and obstacles that are within range and subsequently boosting the safety and productivity of construction sites. The technology, which is formed by combining aerospace tech and advanced algorithms.
Moreover, in 2019, an autonomous crane control system developed by Aker BP and Optilift AS was demonstrated successfully in public at The Aker Solutions Unmanned Demo Day. The system is designed to enable a crane to carry out cargo logistics without any human intervention. The autonomous crane control system, using Aker BP’s auto-hook-concept and Optilift AS’s sensor technology, enables a crane to both offload and load containers from supply cruises/ships to platforms without any personnel or staff on deck. This is expected to provide lucrative opportunities for autonomous cranes over the forecast period.
Autonomous Cranes And Fears Surrounding Potential Job Losses Of The Operators
Theadoption of autonomous cranes is not likely to eliminate the need for a crane operator. To ensure that everything is going along efficiently and safely, human intervention will be required. Crane operators will be able to supersede the machinery whenever needed. In addition, evolving designs of autonomous cranes rely strongly on the operator’s inputs, which provide valuable insights into the needs and challenges arising in the field and help prioritize the features to be developed.
The advanced technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies are expected to elevate the autonomous cranes market in the foreseeable future.
However, the autonomous crane's technology is still at a nascent stage and companies developing these systems are seeking investments and partnerships to support their efforts in the field. Nevertheless, the significant demand for smart and autonomous cranes from construction, mining & excavation, marine, and industrial applications is anticipated to facilitate the development of the market across the globe.
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