Skanska has been working with a consortium of technology companies to develop a prototype robotic platform that can navigate construction sites and carry out pre-programmed activities
The robot is designed to navigate construction sites autonomously and carry out specific tasks with improved productivity, quality and safety.
The Collaborative On-Site Construction Robot (COSCR) project is an Innovate UK project which brings together factory automation and robotics expertise from HAL Robotics, ABB and InnoTecUK, together with project management expertise from BRE, site access and productisation experience from Skyjack and construction industry insight from Skanska.
The COSCR platform comprises a robust mobile base, site sensing technology and BIM-linked software systems that enable it to navigate safely and accurately around a construction site.
The robot is designed to deliver construction activities that may otherwise be repetitive or potentially hazardous, such as drilling at height.
It can be operated manually or autonomously
In manual mode, an operator uses a controller to move the robot around the site. In autonomous mode, the robot uses its onboard sensors, as well as maps derived directly from BIM data, to navigate itself safely around the site and perform tasks that have been scheduled by the user.
It has been developed to specific size and weight constraints to maximise its potential to access the tightest corners of any site. The platform is tracked, which enhances the manoeuvrability, and features a telescopic mast fitted with a robotic arm, enabling it to reach heights of up to 4.2 metres.
As the first proof of concept, the project focused on a drilling and anchor insertion application which was trialled on a live construction site at Skanska’s Featherstone Building project in central London.
Potential to deliver huge benefits
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, the lead party in the consortium, commented: “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.”