Home » Skanska backs development of new BIM-linked robot

Skanska backs development of new BIM-linked robot

by Liam Turner
The COSCR prototype

Skanska has been working with a consortium of technology firms to develop a robotic platform that can navigate construction sites and conduct specific pre-programmed tasks.

The Collaborative On-Site Construction Robot (COSCR) project is an Innovate UK project that brings together factory automation and robotics expertise from HAL Robotics, ABB, and InnoTecUK; with project management expertise from BRE; site access and productisation experience from Skyjack; and construction industry insight from Skanska.

How it works

The COSCR platform is made up of a mobile base, site-sensing technology, and BIM-linked software systems that allow it to navigate around a construction site.

The robot can be operated autonomously or manually, where an operator uses a controller to move the it around the site.

In autonomous mode, the robot uses onboard sensors, as well as maps derived directly from BIM (building information modelling) data, to navigate around the site and perform tasks set by the user.

The robot has been developed to specific size and weight constraints in order to maximise its potential to access tight corners.

The platform is tracked to enhance manoeuvrability, and features a telescopic mast fitted with a robotic arm that allows it to reach heights of up to 4.2 metres.

The robot is designed to deliver construction activities that may otherwise be repetitive or potentially hazardous, such as drilling at height.

‘Huge benefits’

Commenting on the project, Skanska UK’s head of Innovation, Vaibhav Tyagi, said: “Advancing the use of robotics in construction has the potential to deliver huge benefits, both in terms of safety and productivity.

“By automating tasks that are repetitive or present some degree of risk, such as working at height, we can protect our people, while improving the accuracy, speed, and quality of the task.”

Sebastian Andraos, director of HAL Robotics, added: “The COSCR project has combined the expertise of the whole consortium to develop a versatile platform for on-site automation tasks.

“We firmly believe that COSCR platforms, and others like it, have a place on construction sites in the near future and have worked to ensure we understand the standards that must be met to allow that to happen.

“The platform itself and the control systems around it have been designed in a generalisable way to ensure that we can operate alternative tasks, such as logistics, painting, inspection etc., and control multiple robots working on the same site with ease.”

Image: The COSCR prototype. Credit: Skanska

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