The FutureHome project is part of the global R&D program IMS (EU + Japan + Canada). The project had the objective of development a modular robotics construction technology for residential housing. The On-site robotics is the core part of the projects.
The main objective of the FutureHome project is the development of Integrated Construction Automation (ICA) concept and associated to them technologies during all the stages of the house-building construction process, i.e. from architect?s desk to site robots:
? Design the buildings in modular way taking in mind its robotic erection
? Automatic planning and real-time re-planning of the off-site pre-fabrication, transportation and on-site assembly
? On-site automatic and robotic transportation and assembly of the buildings pre-fabricated parts.
Nowadays methods on house building are based on manual techniques, which are slow, expensive and non-coordinated. Each building continues to be unique in architecture and construction sense. Even though the investigation to develop new construction techniques has been important during the past years there is still a long distance between the construction industry and others industries, like, for example, automobile industry. It is difficult to image the houses shall produce as the cars, but at the same time it is not possible to construct the houses as eighty years ago.
A change in the construction methods and the acceptance of the high quality and flexible prefabrication technologies are essential for the construction industry. Automatically build different houses with the same pre-fabricated modules is the challenge of this project. The benefits of construction industries can be improved by using advanced manufacturing systems. These modular systems will increase the quality and the customer satisfaction.
This idea of the modular house-building is not new. Several developments were done in the past. Some of them were used in massive way in Eastern Europe, Germany, Japan and other countries, but all the past approaches didn?t solve three main problems: a) quality of the modular houses, b) flexibility in the design, i.e. different interior and exterior design is made by the set of predefined modules, and c) robotic on-site assembly of modules. The FutureHome project tries to avoid these disadvantages introducing the ICA concept.
The FutureHome EU consortium is formed by: Imperial College (UK-leader), British Steel (UK), Dragados (E), Rautaruukki (SF), VTT (SF), Slavenburg (NL), Unysis (UK), BRE (UK), KTH (S), TUM (D), UC3M (E). The Japanese consortium is formed by: Hitachi Zosen, Shimizu, Kajima, Hazama, University of Osaka, AIST, Waseda University.