We've had our eye on this Australian bot since it was an excavator-mounted prototype back in 2015. Even then, it was capable of laying the brick framework for a full-sized home in about two days – some 20 times faster than human bricklayers, according to Fastbrick Robotics, now known as FBR and the creator of the robot.
Now, in 2023, it's starting to roll out commercially. FBR has built its first "next gen" Hadrian-X system, and last month it set a new speed record on its first outdoor test build, demonstrating a sustained rate over 300 USA-format masonry blocks per hour on a testing and calibration run.
Extrapolate that rate to the largest blocks it can handle – 45-kg (99-lb) monsters measuring 600 x 400 x 300 mm (23.6 x 15.7 x 11.8 in) and you're looking at a machine capable of putting down some 70 sq m (753 sq ft) of vertical wall every hour – that's about a quarter of a tennis court. Oh, and FBR actually expects it to get a lot faster; its rated top speed is 500 blocks per hour.
Arriving on site, the Hadrian X is operated by tablet, and will lay bricks with precision according to a CAD plan. Workers feed masonry blocks into the back of the truck by the pallet load, whereupon "dehacker" robots unpack them and cut them to size if necessary using a circular saw.
Then they're sent one by one down the middle of the boom arm on little shuttles, painted with a special construction adhesive in place of mortar, and laid down in place, where they're dry and secure within 45 minutes.