Emerging robotics technology may soon help construction companies and contractors create buildings in less time at higher quality and at lower costs. Innovators developed and are testing a novel construction robotic system that uses a mechanical design with advances in computer vision sensing technology to work in a construction setting.

On a construction site, there are many unknown factors that a construction robot must be able to account for effectively. This requires much more advanced sensing and reasoning technologies than those commonly used in a manufacturing environment.

The team’s custom end effector design allows for material to be both placed and fastened in the same operation using the same arm, limiting the amount of equipment that is required to complete a given task. Computer vision algorithms developed for the project allow the robotic system to sense building elements and match them to building information modeling (BIM) data in a variety of environments and keep track of obstacles or safety hazards in the system’s operational context.

By basing the sensing for the robotic arm around computer vision technology, rather than more limited-scope and expensive sensing systems, many sensing tasks can be completed with a single, affordable sensor.

For more information, contact Jiansong Zhang, Assistant Professor of Construction Management Technology, at zhan3062@|purdue.edu.