Exploiting the Power of Human-Robot Collaboration: Coupling and Scale Effects in Bricklaying

ICRA Workshop 2022, 2022

Recommended citation: Lin, J.R.*, Wu, M. (2022). Exploiting the Power of Human-Robot Collaboration: Coupling and Scale Effects in Bricklaying. ICRA Workshop 2022, May 23, 2022, Philadelphia, United States. doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.15951.15522 http://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.15951.15522 cited by count


As an important contributor to GDP growth, the construction industry is suffering from labor shortage due to population ageing, COVID-19 pandemic, and harsh environments. Considering the complexity and dynamics of construction environment, it is still challenging to develop fully automated robots. For a long time in the future, workers and robots will coexist and collaborate with each other to build or maintain a facility efficiently. As an emerging field, human-robot collaboration (HRC) still faces various open problems. To this end, this pioneer research introduces an agent-based modeling approach to investigate the coupling effect and scale effect of HRC in the bricklaying process. With multiple experiments based on simulation, the dynamic and complex nature of HRC is illustrated in two folds: 1) agents in HRC are interdependent due to human factors of workers, features of robots, and their collaboration behaviors; 2) different parameters of HRC are correlated and have significant impacts on construction productivity (CP). Accidentally and interestingly, it is discovered that HRC has a scale effect on CP, which means increasing the number of collaborated human-robot teams will lead to higher CP even if the human-robot ratio keeps unchanged. Overall, it is argued that more investigations in HRC are needed for efficient construction, occupational safety, etc.; and this research can be taken as a stepstone for developing and evaluating new robots, optimizing HRC processes, and even training future industrial workers in the construction industry.

This work is also presented in the ICRAWorkshop 2022, check here for detail, and the video can be accessed here.

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This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51908323, No. 72091512) and the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFD1100900).

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