Member Login



Towards human–robot collaboration in construction: current cobot trends and forecasts

PUBLICATION DATE: 12 December, 2022
PUBLICATION AUTHOR/S: Burden, A, Caldwell, G and Guertler, M

Collaborative robots, or cobots, provide opportunities for their use in a range of complex scenarios in different industries, including construction. As a variant of industrial robots commonly used in automation, cobots incorporate inbuilt safety measures, lower costs, and easier operator programming.

This article questions the state of recent peer-reviewed research regarding the uptake and implementation of collaborative robotics in the construction industry. A ‘horizon scanning’ review of literature is presented in this article to uncover recent trends and forecasts in cobotics research specific to the construction industry. The horizon scan targets examples of human–robot collaboration (HRC) and other human–robot interactions (HRI) focussed on construction tasks.

By examining where HRC has been applied in construction, we identify which drivers, enablers, and barriers that influence the future of construction cobots. Human-readable task models coupled with vision systems, such as augmented reality or haptic feedback and wearable interaction devices are strong enablers in how HRC can be better adopted. Most existing research into producing diversity in robot interaction methods for HRC prescribes to overcoming static approaches, which is well suited to answering the ever-changing nature of construction sites.

On the other hand, the dynamic nature of construction sites and worker perceptions impact the uptake of new technologies in industry where cobots are often mistaken for highly automated industrial arms. Based on these findings, the need to build trust through successful use cases and case studies that demonstrate successful outcomes and productivity evaluations are necessary to overcome the barriers to cobot adoption in the construction industry.

Designing Socio-technical Robotic Systems Program based at QUT
Publication link

View all publications