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2024 Tech Forecast: Improving Sustainability, Efficiency, Safety, and Recruiting

Watch for continued advancements in technology aimed at making workers more efficient and attracting young workers to construction careers.
Watch for continued advancements in technology aimed at making workers more efficient and attracting young workers to construction careers.
Elwyn McLachlan, Sector Vice President, Trimble Civil Solutions
Elwyn McLachlan, Sector Vice President, Trimble Civil Solutions
In 2023, Trimble tested a fully autonomous soil compactor on the Site C Clean Energy project in Canada. Watch for slow but steady progress toward autonomous construction technology in 2024 and into the future.
In 2023, Trimble tested a fully autonomous soil compactor on the Site C Clean Energy project in Canada. Watch for slow but steady progress toward autonomous construction technology in 2024 and into the future.
Sustainability will continue to be a priority for the construction industry in 2024 and beyond. Trimble broke ground on a 1.7-megawatt solar array at its company headquarters in 2023 to help offset energy consumption on the two-building campus.
Sustainability will continue to be a priority for the construction industry in 2024 and beyond. Trimble broke ground on a 1.7-megawatt solar array at its company headquarters in 2023 to help offset energy consumption on the two-building campus.
What impact will technology have on the construction industry in the months and years ahead? Trimble’s Elwyn McLachlan, Sector Vice President of Civil Solutions, shares her thoughts below.
Expanded Focus on Sustainability
According to Deloitte’s 2024 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook, sustainability continues to be a business imperative for the construction industry. We expect this to remain the case both in 2024 and well into the future. In 2023, Trimble field testing showed that technology like horizontal steering control can deliver demonstrable sustainability gains, including both fuel and carbon savings of more than 26 percent. We expect sustainability to remain a top priority for the entire industry – from materials producers to subcontractors to project owners – throughout 2024 and for decades to come.
Artificial Intelligence on and off the Jobsite
AI made a big impact in construction in 2023 and will remain a major focus in 2024. Today, AI can be used for tasks like object classification, reality capture insights, safety monitoring, tracking worker and machinery interactions in real-time, and much more. According to Deloitte's 2024 study, generative AI's rise could be a pivotal moment in the industry's digital transformation. Watch for ongoing AI innovation and fine-tuning of its applications in the coming year.
Fully Autonomous Solutions Continue to Advance for Efficiency and Safety
Innovation around autonomy and autonomous solutions will continue its slow but steady march forward in 2024. In 2023, Trimble tested a fully autonomous soil compactor on a live jobsite – the Site C Clean Energy project on the Peace River in British Columbia, Canada – completing 37 hours of work alongside other machines.

Samsung C&T's Yunki Kim highlighted the benefits of this autonomous technology on the project, saying, “Autonomy plays an important part in Samsung’s vision of a more sustainable future, so it was thrilling to have a fully autonomous compactor being put to the test alongside our fleet of equipment with an operator on this project.”

Expect further development and integration of autonomous robotics in construction workflows, improving project efficiency and cost-effectiveness in 2024 and beyond.

Subscriptions Add Flexibility, Access to Technology
The ability to subscribe to construction technology provided big benefits to both small and large contractors in 2023, and we expect even more hardware, software, and support to become available via a subscription in the coming year. Subscription programs allow contractors to invest in the latest hardware and software without the high upfront costs, and the fixed monthly fee typically includes installation, hardware and software upgrades, full factory warranty and repair or replacement of accidentally damaged hardware, and support. Expect technology providers to expand their subscription offerings in 2024, with more contractors turning to this method for managing their tech investments.
Labor Shortage Remains a Challenge
Much like 2023, the labor shortage is likely to create challenges for the construction industry in 2024. Technology will continue to help offset these challenges, both by making construction workflows more efficient and by helping attract new workers to companies that are investing in innovation. Expect growth in task automation, jobsite connectivity, and tech solutions for upskilling existing workers. Robotics, augmented reality, and 3D modeling could also entice new recruits to the industry.
Digital Twins Take on New Life
Digital twins aren’t new to construction, but they take on new life with mass data collection capabilities such as real-time sensors and AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT) evolution turns them into adaptable, "living" digital environments. With connected sensors, digital twins mirror physical objects' orientation, shape, and motion. Sophisticated digital twins now use AI and machine learning for predictive insights, such as tracking materials in supply chains. Expect digital twins to evolve, offering improved collaboration, centralized information, and asset optimization in 2024.
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