Run While You Can: Robots Are Coming For Construction Jobs

The robots are coming for your job. And I don’t just mean the automatons in the mall dispensing directions, or’ s yellow striped warehouse slabs. I’m talking about the construction industry. 

By now you’ve probably seen a drone or two flying around Chicago’s construction sites. They do inspections for management, watch progress for investors, and put aerial photographers out of business.  Now there’s competition at the lowest levels.  The robots are coming for the humble flagman. 

Positioned between cones, holding a “slow” sign, flagmen a visual reminder to drivers that something is happening here, and maybe you should put your damned phone down and pay attention.

But you know what’s better than real life? Video!

In real life, the animation in the video above is much clearer.  It looks choppy because of refresh rates and persistence-of-vision and a bunch of other technical reasons that are beyond the scope of what we’re doing here.  This is a blog, not Sony Pictures.

Yes, I shot this video in Japan, and they do everything different there. Everything. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting idea. 

It wasn’t that long ago that orange barrels and those tall, skinny highway pylons were alien to these shores.  All we need is a city bureaucrat with a gadget fixation and a need to lighten the payroll, and these signs will be next to every pothole from Six Corners to Tally’s Corner.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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