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Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in Construction

Project Description

Modern visualisation technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR) / Mixed Reality (MR), along with Building Information Modelling (BIM), AI and Robotics are collectively revolutionising the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

Robotics is particularly seeing renewed and rapidly growing interest in the sector for its benefits to tackle persistently low productivity and ever-present health and safety risks. While one may envisage future construction sites to be populated only with robots and entirely free of people, in the more foreseeable future robots are more likely to work alongside, in support of and in collaboration with human workers. This however raises challenges in developing safe and effective human-robot interaction (HRI).

The proposed PhD research will address this gap in knowledge/technology by:
- Researching and developing a Mixed Reality (MR) -based HRI interface enabling humans to work/operate safely and effectively with robots in construction sites.
- Validating these through experimental work using simulated and real-life case studies;
- Disseminating the research contributions both academically (through publications in top journals) and industrially (through presentations at professional events and publication in professional journals or magazines).

The successful candidate will join the vibrant interdisciplinary research team of the CyberBuild Lab ( that conducts internationally leading research in construction informatics (Reality capture data processing; VR/AR; Wearable technologies) in collaboration with a range of national and international industry actors. The CyberBuild Lab is part of the Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (within the School of Engineering) that delivers internationally-renowned teaching and research in civil and construction engineering. The CyberBuild Lab is also affiliated to two Centres: (1) the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR) ( that works on various research areas in the field of Robotics and Autonomous systems – the successful candidate will naturally be engaged with ECR; and (2) the Centre for Future Infrastructure (, a multi-disciplinary research hub within the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Day-to-day supervision will be with Dr Frédéric Bosché and Dr Enrique Valero (Research Associate). Co-supervision will also be extended to relevant academic within ECR. Collaborations with other international experts is also being sought.

Closing Date: 31st December 2019, or until position filled.
To Apply, please click here:

Funding Notes

Tuition fees + stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students can apply, but the funding only covers the Home/EU fee rate).

If you are an international student, please indicate how you intend to cover the difference between UK fees and International fees in your application.

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in General Engineering?
(joint submission with Heriot-Watt University)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 91.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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