Smart Mobile Robots Automate, Optimize Construction Projects

Technology is not new to the construction industry. As technology improves and construction demand increases with the growing population, builders are looking for new ways to optimize performance. Intelligent mobile construction robots are emerging to help lighten the load. 

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Image credit: Baubot

Austrian-based Baubot designed a pair of intelligent mobile robots, called Baubots, capable of performing more than two dozen tasks to help with on-site construction. Baubot expects that its robots can increase safety and efficiency on construction sites by aiding human workers on various projects. From material handling to laser marking to concrete 3D printing, the Baubot can do it all. 

The Baubots are short and boxy and are equipped with an industrial-style robotic arm designed by KUKA Robotics. The bots move using a system of wheels and tank tracks, which enable them to drive across difficult terrain and even climb stairs. 

The larger MRS70-210 Baubot can carry nearly 2,000 pounds and lift around 155 pounds. This larger Baubot includes connected feet that can extend to stabilize the robot while working. The smaller of the two robots, the Baubot MRS10-100, has a vehicle payload of about 1,100 pounds and a robot payload around 22 pounds. Although smaller and more lightweight, the Baubot MRS10-100 can perform dozens of tasks in compact spaces. 

The robotic arms on the two Baubots differ, so each has slightly different capabilities. The robotic arm on the smaller robot has a reach of nearly 40 inches, whereas the arm on the larger robot can reach more than 80 inches. Users can swap out the end piece of the robotic arms depending on the task the Baubot needs to complete. For example, a suction attachment will help the Baubot with bricklaying, but a milling and drilling attachment allows the robot to cut and bore. 

Baubot mobile construction robot

Image credit: Baubot

Robots with Vision

No hard hat is needed for these construction workers. The Baubots can assist their human colleagues with a variety of applications. The connected mobile dashboard allows users to operate the robots either manually or by preprogramming the Baubot to complete certain tasks. The mobile dashboard allows users to select the application required, enter specifications, and engage the robot. For example, users can engage Baubot to sand and paint after its human colleagues place drywall. Users can also monitor the robots’ locations on the construction site via the mobile dashboard. 

Accuracy is important in the construction industry. Incorrect cutting or weak reinforcements can create additional labor and material costs. The Baubot uses operator entered data and integrated cameras to complete tasks. The robot can complete certain tasks within one millimeter of accuracy, particularly during laser cutting or milling and drilling. The cameras also help the robot monitor and navigate the construction site. The Baubots are fully electric and can operate for up to eight hours before the battery needs to recharge. 

Construction worker using the Baubot mobile dashboard

Image credit: Baubot

Using AI for Robot Teams

The Baubots’ SDK allows operators to customize the robots to fit the needs of each project. Currently, each Baubot operates independently. However, Baubot also plans to deploy a central artificial intelligence system among all of its robots, allowing the Baubots to work together on construction projects. Users could then communicate with and monitor multiple robots simultaneously. 

With the help of Baubot’s partner Autodesk, a software design company, Baubot plans to incorporate building information modeling (BIM) data into the robots’ systems in the future. BIM uses precise measurements to create a model of a structure for planning, design, and construction. With BIM data, the Baubot would simulate applications at its construction site, effectively allowing it to practice before working on the physical construction site. 

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