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NIST Research Toward Construction Site Integration and Automation.

pdf icon NIST Research Toward Construction Site Integration and Automation. (962 K)
Stone, W. C.; Reed, K. A.; Chang, P.; Pfeffer, L. E.; Jacoff, A.

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 12, No. 2, 50-64, April 1999.


construction; construction automation; virtual reality; augmented simulation; equipment tracking; resource tracking; information utilization; remote-controlled construction; metrology


Current uses of computers in construction include design, planning, scheduling, and cost estimating. Much more could be achieved on a fully computer-integrated construction site. This paper describes initial work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology toward construction site integration and automation, beginning with a simple steel-erection procedure using an instrumented crane. CAD-generated geometry sets are transformed into a library of 3D construction site objects. These objects are then loaded into an augmented simulation system that tracks both equipment and resources based on real-time data from the construction site. With some future enhancements, the end result will be a world model of the site, in which as-built conditions can be assessed, current construction processes can be viewed as they occur, planned sequences of processes can be tested, and object information can be retrieved on demand. A project can be viewed and managed remotely using this tool. Remotely controlled construction in hazardous environments is a natural extension of this environment. The National Construction Automation Testbed (NCAT) is currently being used in various research projects with the intentions of making sudti possibilities a reality. A major effort in the NCAT is the development and testing of the metrology, communication, and simulation protocols required.