February 3, 2021
Idaho-based Autovol has announced it is nearing completion of its first major housing project utilizing robotics and automation. The project, Virginia Street Studios, aims to make high-quality apartment homes more affordable to seniors in San Jose, Calif.
The company’s 400,000-square-foot Autovol factory has now deployed its unique combination of construction trades and robotic automation. The company has hired more than 100 employees, which the company calls Solutioneers, to work with industrial robots in the modular construction space.
“Automation and robotics will lead the world into the future of housing,” said Rick Murdock, CEO of Autovol. “What we’re doing hasn’t been attempted before. Our investors and Solutioneers leaned in with lots of confidence, and now we’re seeing great results that prove they were right.”
Murdock said automated modular construction is designed to “take the back-breaking work off of people, and use new techniques that weren’t humanly possible.” The company is staffing to an expected team of 300-plus Solutioneers, and already has 600 modular units on its docket, with the capacity for more.
Helping Autovol is another company, House of Design, an automation and robotics firm also based in Nampa, Idaho. Shane Dittrich, the founder, said the company has grown by helping develop this type of automation.
“The collaborative effort of people and industrial robots in the off-site construction space provides endless opportunities,” said Dittrich. “We can’t solve the problems of unavailable labor and housing affordability without automation. We also don’t solve these problems without visionary companies willing to take a chance and endure unavoidable speed bumps on the road to extraordinary success.”
The Virginia Studios will be a five-story, 301-unit complex that will be over-podium, including underground parking. Automation is doing a substantial part of the work, with Solutioneers skilled in the construction trades doing finishing work and other key tasks, Autovol said.