Home » Purdue University researchers to study human-robot collaboration in construction

Purdue University researchers to study human-robot collaboration in construction

by Liam Turner
Purdue researchers Yifu Wu, Jiansong Zhang, Jin Wei-Kocsis, Byung-Cheol Min, and Dongming Gan

Professors at Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute have received a $150,000 (c.£125,000) grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research into human-robot collaboration on construction sites.

Over the course of one year, the researchers aim to create a human-robot collaboration framework to tackle the labour shortage and stagnant productivity.

Commenting on the funding, principal investigator Jin Wei-Kocsis, associate professor of Computer and Information technology at Purdue University, said: “Our interdisciplinary team was formed in early 2020, and we have been working steadily toward a successful research proposal, so this award means a lot to us.”

The researchers aim to create a collaboration framework for multiple human workers to team with multiple remote construction robots of various types.

These human-robot teams have the potential to improve operational efficiency and scalability and thus anticipate imminent problems challenging the future of the construction industry, including a shortage of skilled labor, an aging workforce, occupational safety challenges, and stagnant productivity, according to the researchers.

The team will develop a proof-of-concept ‘worker-in-the-loop’ interface for trials at construction sites.

The trials will involve workshops, focus groups, training sessions, and surveys.

Also participating are Jiansong Zhang, assistant professor of Construction Management Technology; Byung-Cheol Min, associate professor of Computer and Information Technology; Mesut Akdere, professor of Human Resource Development; and Dongming Gan, assistant professor of Engineering Technology.

The team says the outcome of the research has the potential to revolutionise existing construction industries and to provide convergent solutions for technical and workforce bottlenecks.

Image: (L-R): Purdue researchers Yifu Wu, Jiansong Zhang, Jin Wei-Kocsis, Byung-Cheol Min, and Dongming Gan. Credit: Purdue University


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