IROS 2019 Workshop: Automation in Construction
Artificial Intelligence and Robots for the Realization of Smart Buildings is a full day workshop to be held on November 8, 2019 from 9:00 to 16:30 at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Macau, China.
This workshop is organized by Prof. Hannah Stuart, with assistance from Mr. Jackson Hung of the Song Shan Lake Xbot Park Hong Kong Office. The majority of the program will focus on a group of invited speakers. The final portion will include a group discussion intended to identify interdisciplinary topics for Construction 4.0. This workshop is designed to help bridge the gap between academic topics and potential real-world deployment.
List of topics addressed:
- Smart cities
- Flexible manufacturing
- Vision and perception
- Mechanisms and design
Responsibly building and maintaining the infrastructure of rapidly growing and aging cities is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. The construction of civil structures and low-cost housing directly impacts human health and safety, sustainability and energy consumption, and social equity. Modernizing construction by harnessing the power of automation could create lasting impact at global scales.
Problems facing infrastructure in the United States include the rapid development of affordable housing and the inspection and replacement of key civil structures, like bridges, that directly impact public safety. The construction industry in Hong Kong and the mainland China also face serious challenges: low productivity, declining labor supplies and sustainability. This sector consumes 40% to 50% of all raw industry materials and produces more than half of all solid waste, and construction costs, at roughly 4000 USD per square meter for high-rise residential buildings in Hong Kong, is one of the highest in the world, next only to London.
Sustainable and effective construction is becoming an urgent problem, especially with mounting demands for affordable housing and green building solutions. Today, building materials such as bricks, timber, cement, sand, steel and construction aggregate, etc. are transported to the construction site, and then buildings are raised using manual work and machinery of limited or no intelligence. Efficient construction and building maintenance through prefabrication methods, automation/optimization of design, on-site robotic activities, and building sensorization could have tremendous impacts on the future of construction and healthy living worldwide.
The motivation of this workshop is to coalesce a groups of experts in robotics, artificial intelligence, construction and civil engineering in order to generate new ideas and urgency in this exciting application area. One topic of interest is the role of robots in different stages of construction, e.g., flexible manipulation and prefabrication of structures in factory settings, onsite construction management, downstream maintenance and support of smart buildings. Close collaboration and operation alongside human workers must also be considered. Artificial intelligence and smart system tools will be discussed as a way of planning and designing new buildings and communities. Close collaboration and communication with industrial partners is essential when considering real-world application implications. It is believed that on-site construction automation can make far-reaching changes in whole building life cycle via integrating robotic, data analysis and automation technologies. In order to resolve the aforementioned difficulties within the construction industry, we need to develop and implement a series of technologies, thorough seamless integration of AI, robotics and IOT technologies.
This workshop targets communities across a large cross-section of robotics and AI that work in parallel tracks: design, sensing, control, planning, perception, fabrication, technology adoption and industry. Therefore, we intend to attract a diverse audience (in terms of technical background) with the common interest in automated construction. The workshop will include speakers from engineering and computer science as well as practitioners and partners in industry in order to facilitate conversation around fusion of (these fields during real-world application. The proposed workshop has a strong focus on real-world application, therefore it is at the natural intersection between academia and industry.
The addressed topic is substantially multidisciplinary. We will use this platform to initiate a discussion that will provide a 360° perspective on real-world automation application. The first portion of the event will be invited speakers, leaders in their fields, to present recent work and their vision for the future of automation in construction. The speakers are asked to direct their comments and insights to the theme of the workshop. This will provide the audience a broad idea of the current state of the art. Ideally themes will emerge from these talks that speak to the biggest challenges across the different fields today.
To finish the workshop, we will have a group discussion, with coordination from Mr. Jackson Hung, to collectively identify cross-disciplinary connections for the future of Construction 4.0.
9:00 Welcome, introduction to the topic (Hannah Stuart)
9:15 Prof. Zexiang Li, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Department of Electronics and Computer Science “Opportunities of Construction Automation and Prefabrication in China.”
9:45 Macy Zhang, Assistant Venture Manager for Arup East Asia on behalf of Dr. Ricky Tsui: R&D Director in East Asia, Arup University Leader. “Robotic Applications in Construction Industry in Asia — Market Needs and Applications.”
10:15 Prof. Ruigang Yang: University of Kentucky. “Autonomous excavation.”
10:45 Coffee break
11:15 Prof. I-ming Chen: Nanyang Technology University, Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Robotics for Construction 4.0 – Singapore perspective.”
11:45 Prof. Hannah Stuart: University of California Berkeley, Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Grasping and manipulation in highly unstructured real world settings — applications in civil projects.”
12:15 Prof. Jun Seo: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering. “Design, Planning, and Control for Versatile Robotic Manipulation.”
14:15 Manuel Catalano: IIT. “Robust robot hardware benchmarking for disaster response in built environments.”
14:30 Marco Hutter: ETH Zurich
15:00 Nicholas Naclerio: University of California Santa Barbara, Department of Mechanical Engineering, on behalf of Prof. Elliot Hawkes. “Soft, tip-extending “vine” robots and their applications in construction.” Abstract: Soft, tip-extending “vine” robots are potentially well suited for a variety of applications in construction. Because they extend from their tip, they do not move relative to their environment, allowing them to grow through difficult environments. This talk will highlight the workings of the vine robot, its current development, and potential applications including inspection, cable laying, burrowing, and more
15:30 Mr. Jackson Hung: Project Manager, Song Shan Lake Xbot Park
15:45 Coffee break
16:15 Guided group discussion (Jackson Hung)
16:30 Closing remarks (Hannah Stuart)