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Digital transformation on building sites. Robots to autonomously carry loads in the future

An increased rate of residential construction as well as large and complex new-build projects demand solutions that are time- and cost-efficient. To realise such solutions and speed up construction processes, Fraunhofer Italia Innovation Engineering Center (IEC), an independent foreign subsidiary of Fraunhofer, develops software systems and interfaces featuring building information modelling (BIM). BIM allows all stakeholders in a construction project – from the planner through to the site owner and tradespeople – to access a digital model of the building data during all stages of the construction process. A mobile robot dubbed the Husky A200 is being used to research how mobile platforms can autonomously travel across construction sites and carry loads in the future, creating a bridge between robotics and the construction industry. In order for the Husky to find the right way on its own, the ROSBIM software interface was developed to connect the BIM with the Robot Operating System (ROS). In doing this, even vastly different robots will be able to gain information about all changes on a building site. The main benefit from mobile robot platforms such as Husky A200 is enabling heavy loads such as construction materials and tools to be transported autonomously through a constantly changing environment, making the physical work on the site easier. The robot is designed for harsh environments and is equipped with control electronics and acceleration, laser and slope sensors that help it navigate rough terrain. It is also plausible that robots such as this one will be used in other domains, like agriculture for instance.

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