Automatic modular assembly system and its distributed control

Yuzuru Terada, Satoshi Murata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Construction is difficult to automate because of its complexity. Introducing modularity into both structural components and a means of assembly solves the problem by simplifying the construction task. Based on this idea, we propose a novel concept of a fully automated construction system called the Automatic Modular Assembly System (AMAS). In this paper, we discuss the hardware system and distributed control method of AMAS. This system uses passive building blocks called "structure modules" and an assembler robot that is specialized to handle them. This "modular" concept drastically simplifies structural complexity. We have built a prototype model to evaluate its automatic construction capability. Then we introduce a distributed autonomous control for AMAS, which uses a gradient field to indicate the directions to the assembler robots. The gradient field is generated on the structure modules. To improve the efficiency, we introduce collision avoidance rules such as module relay and local negotiation via a blackboard. We also evaluate the overall performance of the distributed control with simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-462
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar


  • Autonomous agents
  • Cellular and modular robots
  • Distributed robot systems
  • Mechanism design
  • Path planning for multiple mobile robot systems
  • Robotics in construction


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