Engineers at the Freunhof Italian Centre for Innovative Engineering (IEC) in Bolzano, Italy, are developing software that will enable robotic assistants to help on construction sites,media reported. This mobile robot based on the Husky A200 research platform can use new navigation software to perform autonomous logistics tasks.
Although robots have entered people’s homes, they may soon even help build them. Construction is a complex, expensive, and ever-changing task that requires a lot of teamwork and constant adaptation, and the addition or assistance of robots in this area can help speed up and reduce costs.
Yet construction sites often look like organized chaos drills, and even humans are hard to navigate, let alone robots. With the goal of bringing robots to construction sites, the Fraunhofer Alliance is developing a new software system interface that connects building information modeling (BIM) and robotic operating systems (ROS) and supports a large number of programming languages to allow robot engineers to quickly develop robotic systems.
“Digitalization offers the construction industry the possibility of an unprecedented way of integrating the way it works,” says Carmen Marcher, head of the construction process engineering research team. This combination of innovative working methods and robotics is one of the many opportunities that digitalization presents for the industry. In Fraunhofer Italia IEC, we created an interface that connects BIM to commercially available research robots so that they can use BIM data. “
According to Fraunhofer, this digital construction data could help robot assistants safely transport heavy building materials and tools around construction sites. When navigating over rough terrain, the mobile robot activates electronic control units and acceleration, laser and inclination sensors. In addition, when its follow-me function is activated, it can follow a human worker.
Currently, the robot assistant is limited to indoor testing, but the goal is to bring robots like it into the real world, which will not only help construction workers but also farmers.