Publications / 2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia

Modified Discrete Event Simulation Algorithm for Control of Automated Construction Operations

Joseph Louis, Phillip Dunston
Pages 126-133 (2014 Proceedings of the 31st ISARC, Sydney, Australia, ISBN 978-0-646-59711-9, ISSN 2413-5844)

Few robots are found on the worksite today and the construction process has remained unchanged since pre-industrial times, the only major advancement being the replacement of human and animal power with motors, despite research efforts in construction automation. Contrarily, the planning stages of projects have benefited from advances in simulation and modeling technologies. We propose a mechanism for leveraging information rich models to automate construction operations by using Discrete Event Simulation (DES) models of operations to drive the process in the real world using autonomous robots. This endeavour requires a new method to process DES models as they are currently used for the fundamentally different task of analyzing operations. Technically, this method is necessitated by the fact that activity durations are not known apriori when the DES model is controlling a real world operation. We put forth a novel algorithm for processing DES that enables construction automation. Our lack of prior knowledge of activity durations are accounted for by assuming that initiated activities continue until pre-empted to a stop by communication from the autonomous robot performing it. The primary contribution of our presented research is enabling the unprecedented use of DES models for construction automation. This approach allows for the automation of any construction operation, given the application breadth of DES. This modeling approach also enables new construction visualization techniques with the use of robot simulators that free up the operation modeler from consideration of low level equipment and geometric details and from the collection of activity duration data.

Keywords: Automation and Control, Simulation, Robots, Construction Operations