Collective Robotic Construction

Workshop proposal for ICRA 2022

Abstract

Advances in collective robotic construction (CRC) pose a unique combination of challenges spanning algorithm and mechanism design, novel construction materials, new CAD tools,  as well as HRI and safety. Yet, in advanced construction automation, cooperative multi-robot systems are essential due to the size of the construction projects and the broad range of specialized tasks. 

In addition to improving construction as we know it, CRC may enable novel types of structures and construction in settings that have been deemed too difficult for human labor or traditional automation techniques. This workshop will bring together roboticists who work on algorithms and hardware, architects and civil engineers who advance our understanding of designing and building with these new construction systems, and industry/funding agencies who represent current technological needs. Topics will span safety, industrial and sustainable construction, and future applications such as construction in disaster scenarios and extraterrestrial construction, all with a particular focus on what can be achieved from having many robots work together.

According to the UN Habitat, by 2030 more than 3B people will suffer from inadequate housing, and according to the US Department of Labor more than 20% of US work-related injuries happen in the construction sector. Truly, the need for innovative, safe, efficient, inexpensive, and sustainable construction has never been greater.

About the Organizers

The organizers are active contributors to swarm robotics and CRC — they are behind several of the state of the art systems and are behind the recent review in Science Robotics. Specifically:

  • Prof. Heiko Hamann has written the definitive book on swarm robotics (Swarm Robotics: A Formal Approach), and has been co-organizing workshops on self-organized construction (SOCO as part of ACSOS the IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organizing Systems).
  • Dr. Mary Katherine Heinrich is an expert in swarm robotics and bio-hybrid construction systems. She has a background at the intersection of architecture and robotics.
  • Prof. Nils Napp is an expert on multi-robot, multi-material construction in unprepared environments and has built state-of-the arts systems in amorphous construction.
  • Prof. Kirstin Petersen is an expert in multi-robot coordination and distributed construction and has built and programmed the TERMES system which was featured in and on the cover of Science.