Robotique mobile dans l'industrie du bâtiment

ROSBIM project: integrating robotics into the construction industry

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Here, Fraunhofer Italia reports on one of the projects headed by the Fraunhofer Italia Innovation Engineering Center, aimed at advancing integration of robotics technologies in the construction industry.

Fraunhofer is a German institute for applied scientific research. The Fraunhofer Italia Innovation Engineering Center is the Italian branch of their laboratory network.

Researcher at the Fraunhofer Italia Innovation Engineering Center with the Husky mobile robotic platform
Photo credit © LIVE-STYLE Eppan

The researchers at this centre, based in Bolzano, Italy, are developing a software interface that will allow mobile robots to find their way around construction sites.

This interface, called ROSBIM, will link :

  1. The BIM technology, which gives the different people working on a building site access to a digital data model of the building throughout its construction (almost in real time); with
  2. The ROS, an operating system installed in many robots (whether mobile or not) that offers multiple advantages (standardised protocols, easy addition of external devices, etc.).

CLEARPATH ROBOTICS: mobile robotic platforms designed for complex environments

The CLEARPATH ROBOTICS mobile robotic platforms, distributed in Europe by Génération Robots, are designed for use in various fields, including space exploration, surveillance and patrolling in high-risk areas (irradiated, snowy, dusty, hilly, etc.), and urban and industrial maintenance.

CLEARPATH ROBOTICS developed its range of mobile robots specifically for researchers working in dangerous or difficult conditions

CLEARPATH ROBOTICS outdoor mobile robotic platforms are:

  • ROS and open-source compatible (ROS packages and libraries available online and updated regularly)
  • Easily customised (addition of external devices)
  • Resistant to weather and other external elements (rain, dust, cold, etc.)
  • Robust and extremely efficient
Husky mobile robot used in the ROSBIM research project
Photo credit © LIVE-STYLE Eppan

For their first prototype, Fraunhofer Italia chose the Husky mobile robot by CLEARPATH ROBOTICS:

  • External dimensions: 990 x 670 x 390 mm
  • Weight: 50 kg
  • Max. payload: 75 kg
  • Payload in all-terrain mode: 20 kg
  • Internal storage dimensions: 296 x 411 x 155 mm
  • Max. speed: 1 m/s
  • Protection rating: IP44 (IP55 optional)
  • Total available power: 192W (480W optional)
  • Drivers and APIs: ROS, C++ and Python

Robots as logistics assistants

The aim of this software interface is to ultimately enable use of robots at construction sites for carrying heavy loads (material and equipment) from A to B. 

It will allow the robots to avoid obstacles they might not otherwise have detected, such as elevator shafts and newly dug trenches.

Thanks to ROSBIM, a mobile robot will be able to operate in full autonomy in the complex and constantly changing environment of a construction site, as the interface will improve the robot’s perception of its surroundings.

Employees can also use its follow-me function to ask the robot to follow them, a bit like a logistics assistant.

Adapting the ROSBIM technology for use in other areas

Rolling out this type of robotic logistics assistant at construction sites under the ROSBIM project is simply a first step, since this type of technology could easily be transferred for use in other areas, including for scientific exploration or farming.

Find out more in the article published on the Fraunhofer website: A smarter way of building with mobile robots