Category Archives: Infrastructure

Work starts on ‘largest’ fully automated parking structure in the US


Creative Office Properties and Dasher Lawless Automation broke ground last month on a subterranean, 277 stall AutoParkit System.

It is the largest fully automated parking structure below grade in the US It is longer than a football field and features multiple load bays to service both tenants and guests.

The system also exclusively features automated electric vehicle charging stalls and automated bicycle storage. 

Prefabricated construction using robots set to increase in next few years


Prefabricated construction is where the individual components and parts of a building are manufactured in a factory and then transported to the building site and assembled together to form the final house or commercial building, or whatever it may be. 

This construction technique or methodology has been around for quite some time and its proponents have probably often wondered why it doesn’t become the main way dwellings and office blocks are built.

Its supporters say it reduces the costs of construction significantly and enables more accuracy and quality in the final building process. 

Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

apple homepod

The new Apple HomePod, the home automation device which mostly acts like a speaker and plays music

The global market for robotics and automation systems is growing so fast that it’s causing seasoned industry analysts to revise their forecasts. 

For example, the Boston Consulting Group released a report into the robotics which it has now updated with new numbers.

The causes of the reviews include the relatively new interest in personal robotics technology for the home, and the burgeoning market in collaborative robots for industry.

Another key development is the launch of the Apple HomePod, which, along with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, looks set to automate a huge number of homes to levels never seen before.

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Dana to supply driveshaft assemblies and motion systems for New York Wheel

new york wheel

Photo credits: S9 Architecture / Perkins Eastman

New York City is planning to construct what will be the world’s largest ferris wheel, and a company called Dana is providing the crucial components.

Dana announced that it is providing driveshaft assemblies and gearboxes for the New York Wheel – which will be the world’s tallest observation wheel.

This attraction is currently under construction on the north shore of Staten Island in New York City and will stand 630 feet (192 meters) high when completed in early 2018. 

Swiss robots planning to build houses using 3D printers

ETH Zürich, a university in Switzerland, has unveiled a plan to build a three-storey house – dubbed DFab House – using robots and 3D printing. 

Structural engineers and sustainability experts from ETH Zürich have teamed up with business partners on the project, which is designed to bring numerous building technologies from research labs into the real world.

The project is overseen by the National Centre of Competence in Research Digital Fabrication, and its architects, robotics specialists, and materials scientists. 

China says its Belt & Road initiative is a way out of the global economic slump

China is planning to create what looks like will be the largest, longest and most complex logistics network in history – at a cost to itself of almost $1 trillion. 

The so-called Belt & Road Initiative will virtually encircle China, most of Asia and much of Europe, and will mostly consist of interconnected roads, but will also include sea lanes and railways, and possibly some airways.

In total, it will connect approximately 60 countries, and cost anything between $4 trillion and $8 trillion. And the timescale is anyone’s guess.

The northern parts of the Belt & Road network will include the revival of the ancient Silk Road, which connected China to Persia and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and India, Indonesia and Arabia via sea lanes to the south. 

Perspective: Learning from urban mobility systems in the Middle East


By Ralf Baron, Thomas Kuruvilla, Morsi Berguiga, Michael Zintel, Joseph Salem, and Mario Kerbage

The Middle East may have been late to urbanization, but this has provided a unique opportunity to shape its urban mobility strategies.

Rather than adopting a piecemeal approach, leaders such as Dubai are following an ecosystem model that addresses mobility holistically.

In this article, contributed by experts at consultancy Arthur D Little, the authors explain this new model and the lessons it provides for other cities across the world as they struggle to meet their own urban mobility challenges. 

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Six new trends in home automation

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon’s Echo Dot, the voice-controlled Alexa-enabled device, can connect to a wide range of your smart home gadgets

By Megan Wild, editor of

It’s an exciting time to be a homeowner, but it can also be overwhelming. It seems every week there is a new smart home product on the market that can automate various aspects of your life, and it can be tough to decide which direction to go.

Like all new technology, there is a certain amount of risk involved. You don’t want to jump on something too early, only for it to be outdated and forgotten about a year later.

On the flip side, there is also that natural feeling of wanting to keep up with the trends in order to maximize your home value — not to mention take advantage of all of the cool features many of these devices have.

Here are six trends in smart home automation that are relatively safe bets for the foreseeable future. 

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Recharging the energy industry: Managing demand and constraint

city at night overview

Partners in industrial automation, Martyn Williams, managing director of industrial software expert, Copa-Data UK and Mark Hardy, CEO of Capula, reveal how new technologies, such as smart grids, big data and business intelligence enable a more efficient use of resources in the industry

Humans have always searched for ways to harness energy, whether it be to complete laborious tasks or just improve their livelihood.

Propelled by the discoveries and inventions of the industrial revolution, this thirst for innovation has led to humanity’s quest for more powerful, smarter and more efficient energy sources.

Recent years have seen a new wave of technology and opportunities hit the energy sector, several of which have been presented by the onset of big data and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Ensuring that supply meets the customers’ demand is a key responsibility of the energy industry, however, these smart technologies are changing the way the grid generates, manages, distributes and stores energy. 

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Meinhardt partners with International Enterprise Singapore to expand into Africa and Middle East

nairobi tower kenya crop

Despite headwinds in the global economy, internationalisation will continue to drive the growth of companies in the engineering consultancy sector as infrastructure demand remains strong globally.

Meinhardt Group, a global engineering, planning and management firm, is working closely with International Enterprise Singapore, the government agency partnering Singapore companies in going global, on its expansion strategy to Africa and the Middle East.

This includes the company’s recent acquisition of African engineering consultancy to gain in-roads into East Africa. 

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ABB approves Chinese company Recon to bid for major automation projects


Recon Technology, which describes itself as an independent oilfield services provider operating primarily in China, has been authorised by ABB to participate in bidding for various projects in the future, including automation system products projects.

Recon says it anticipates cooperating with ABB in the future to provide integrated automation solutions, products and product quality assurance services for various projects beyond oil industry.

For any successful project bids, Recon expects it would provide on-site project commissioning and maintenance services. 

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Al Waha Petrochemicals to use Honeywell’s industrial internet to improve plant performance

honeywell uop Al Waha

Honeywell says it has been contracted to provide its industrial internet-based Connected Performance Services to Al Waha Petrochemicals Company to explore possibilities of maximizing propylene production.

CPS is a key part of Honeywell’s Connected Plant initiative that helps manufacturers leverage the IIoT to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of operations across a single plant or several plants across an enterprise.

CPS integrates Honeywell UOP’s process and service expertise into the Connected Plant cloud platform.

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Daimler offers vision of future cities built around autonomous vehicles

daimler future cities

Daimler’s vision of future cities includes autonomous vehicles, such as cars and drones, as shown in this artist’s illustration. Image credit: Daimler

The Daimler and Benz Foundation is funding what it says is a new interdisciplinary research project which looks at the possible effects of autonomous driving on European cities.

The Foundation says the project is aimed at answering the question: How will autonomous vehicles shape the cities of the future?

Formally entitled “Avenue 21 – Autonomous Transport: Developments in Urban Europe”, the Foundation’s team of scientists is examining the question of how European cities will evolve through autonomous driving – and the influence of urban structures on the development of autonomous traffic. 

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Energy efficiency: The industrial sector can do much more, say experts

A coal power plant in Datteln, Germany

A coal power plant in Datteln, Germany. Picture courtesy of Arnold Paul

In this article by Hannover Messe, experts say the industrial sector has more potential to save on energy costs

Six out of ten companies are satisfied with the results of their most recent energy efficiency measures according to the energy efficiency index EEI’s winter evaluation.

The Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production at the University of Stuttgart surveys the German industry’s ongoing and planned activities regarding energy efficiency every six months.

“The latest information campaign from the German Ministry of Economics, is correct and will remain enormously important,” says the director of EEP Professor Alexander Sauer. “Ignorance continues to be a major obstacle.”  

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Big feature: Historic opportunities presented by smart cities

city by the water

Experts from the Arthur D Little consultancy provide a detailed overview of the historic, “trillion-dollar” opportunity presented by the move to smart cities, in this article by Ralf Baron, Morsi Berguiga, Jaap Kalkman, Adnan Merhaba, Ansgar Schlautmann, Karim Taga

The 100 largest cities in the world produce 25 per cent of the planet’s wealth. To succeed, more and more cities are going “smart” in order to meet their biggest challenges and enrich the quality of their citizens’ lives.

This unstoppable trend is driving double-digit growth in a trillion-dollar global market.

What are the opportunities for telecom companies, utilities, financial institutions, transportation companies, software developers, equipment manufacturers and others in the smart-city market? 

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