Game engines and reinforcement learning multi-agent-based for bricklaying construction

This research proposes a framework consisting of a communication interface between Unity and ROS for real-world distributed robotic construction. It deploys reinforcement learning in a game engine-based simulation. The Unity scene provides the environment in which agents observe, act, learn and get feedback. We draw from state-of-the-art reinforcement learning techniques for multi-agent-based execution plan generation by establishing connections between the python API and python trainer with the environment. All the learning algorithms have been set up with the TensorFlow platform to communicate with the Unity model. Then Unity passes all the information collected to ROS, namely, the poses of the robot, target object, target location, and the motion plan. In turn, ROS returns a trajectory message to Unity corresponding to the real robot feedback for further simulation of the remaining task. This research project is led by Xinghui Xu.

Cybersecurity aspects of Operational Technology on construction sites

Digitization in the construction industry is increasing with the integration of information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT) into different activities. The levels of OT to control and monitor site activities utilizing (semi)autonomous and remotely controlled machines raise cybersecurity concerns. Safety issues are magnified given the collaborative work of humans and machines/equipment. This study's motivation is to understand the current state of the art and identify gaps to suggest future directions regarding OT in construction from the cybersecurity perspective. To achieve that, a bibliometric analysis is conducted. The analysis utilizes the Scopus database to retrieve related publications and VOSviewer software to visualize bibliometric networks. Main research themes are identified, and each theme is reviewed from a cybersecurity perspective. The gaps in the existing literature and suggestions for further research related to the cybersecurity of OT in construction are provided. This research project is led by Semih Sonkor and funded by the Center for Cyber Security at NYUAD (CCS-AD).

Spatio-temporal modeling and 4D simulation

During the construction of high-rises, construction workers and small and medium-sized materials are typically transported using temporary elevators. Temporary elevator planning plays a positive role in the successful completion of a construction project. However, conventional temporary elevator planning has limitations. On the one hand, the optimization of temporary elevator planning is rarely considered from a spatio-temporal perspective. On the other hand, the display of temporary elevator planning mainly adopts abstract (e.g., text), low-dimensional (e.g., 2D drawing), and static (e.g., 3D model) ways, but such practices are not easy to be fully understood by the project team. To address these limitations, this research proposes a framework for the spatio-temporal planning of temporary elevators considering a virtual reality environment, making temporary elevator planning more effective and intuitive. This research project is led by Keyi Wu.