Robotic Platform for Cyber-Physical Assembly

Research Project 16 (RP 16)


This research project addresses the development of a cyber-physical on-site construction platform for high-performance long-span buildings. The long-term goal is to automate material handling and on-site assembly of pre-fabricated fibre-composite elements using a ground-based, medium-payload, mobile, robotic boom manipulator. The team has the expertise needed to reach this goal by achieving interdisciplinary advances in cyber-physical construction platform design, sensor selection and real-time signal processing, algorithms for motion control, robot gripper design, and human-machine interaction.

On the one hand autonomous construction presupposes that control decisions are made in reaction to rich sensory input. To this end a real-time robot total station network will be installed on the construction site to locate the assembly robot at any time; this precise and robust system for measuring absolute position will enable automation of robot motion and building assembly as well as status monitoring of building elements. Complementary robot-fixed sensor systems will support detailed physical observation of the construction progress and (together with Research Project 8 (Cyber-Physical Construction Platform) monitoring of the condition of building elements. The robot will use all this information to perform relatively simple task steps autonomously. On the other hand, to allow for integration into a wide number of complex assembly processes and handle any problems that arise, we will create an intuitive haptic user interface that allows an on-site human operator to directly control the motion of the robot when needed. Haptic feedback from the robot’s sensors will enable the operator (and later the robot itself) to respond appropriately to physical contact during the assembly process, while cues from the structure’s digital model will virtually guide execution of the present task step.

Overall, this project aims to create a cyber-physical construction platform that can precisely place large building elements without damaging the building structure. We believe robotic automation based on precise localization and haptic feedback will speed up assembly and lead to a more efficient and correct construction process. Together with Research Project 8, this research project contributes significantly to the demonstrator by developing one of the IntCDC Instrumentation Platforms.



Dr. Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
Haptic Intelligence Department (MPI HI), Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Oliver Sawodny
Institute for System Dynamics (ISYS), University of Stuttgart
Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Volker Schwieger
Institute of Engineering Geodesy (IIGS), University of Stuttgart


Dr. Bernard Javot (MPI)
Yijie Gong (MPI)
Anja Lauer (ISYS)
Otto Lerke (IIGS)
Mayumi Mohan (MPI)



  1. 2019

    1. Schwieger, V., Menges, A., Zhang, L., & Schwinn, T. (2019). Engineering Geodesy for Integrative Computational Design and Construction. Zeitschrift Für Geodäsie, Geoinformation Und Landmanagement (ZfV), 144(4), 223--230.



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