Mobile Robotic Brickwork

Mobile Robotic Brickwork
Automation of a Discrete Robotic Fabrication Process
Using an Autonomous Mobile Robot

Kathrin Dörfler1, Timothy Sandy2, Markus Giftthaler2, Fabio Gramazio1, Matthias Kohler1, Jonas Buchli2
1 ETH Zurich, Chair of Architecture and Digital Fabrication
2 ETH Zurich, Agile & Dexterous Robotics Lab
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

This paper by Kathrin Dörfler, Timothy Sandy, Markus Giftthaler, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler and Jonas Buchli, describes the implementation of a discrete in situ construction process using a location-aware mobile robot. An undulating dry brick wall is semi-autonomously fabricated in a laboratory environment set up to mimic a construction site.

On the basis of this experiment, the following generic functionalities of the mobile robot and its developed software for mobile in situ robotic construction are presented: 1) its localization capabilities using solely on-board sensor equipment and computing, 2) its capability to assemble building components accurately in space  including the ability to align the structure with existing components on site, and 3) the adaptability of computational models to dimensional tolerances as well as to process-related uncertainties during construction.

As such, this research advances additive non-standard fabrication technology and fosters new forms of flexible, adaptable and robust building strategies in the new emerging field of autonomous robotic in situ production for the final assembly of building components directly on construction sites.

While this paper highlights the challenges of the current state of research and experimentation, it also provides an outlook to the implications for future robotic construction and the new possibilities the proposed approaches open up: the high-accuracy fabrication of large-scale building structures outside of structured factory settings, which could radically expand the application space of automated building construction in architecture.

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