Robotization of mobile construction machinery

  Automatization of an excavator Copyright: © IFAS RWTH Aachen

Topic description and motivation

With a nominal construction volume of almost 400 billion euros and approximately two million employees in Germany, the construction industry is of central importance to the local economy, and the situation is similar in many countries. The still predominant analog character of construction site work, management and organization leads to a high proportion of manual labor. This goes hand in hand with a high risk of accidents, high physical stress, long working hours and thus results in an unattractive field of work and a shortage of skilled workers. Rarely are construction projects completed on time and on budget as a result, which is also due to inefficiency and a low level of digitalization in the construction industry. Remedies include more flexible processes and modern automation solutions, with which the construction industry needs to be upgraded. The use of modern production methods and robotics has enabled industries such as automotive to achieve steady productivity growth. These advances in digitization, connectivity and automation must be transferred to the construction site.

Preliminary Program

The aim of the Summer School is to give participants an insight into the automation of mobile machines in the field of construction. For this purpose, individual topics from the fields of drive technology, robotics, automation, sensor technology and construction will be covered. The Summer School consists of several blocks of knowledge transfer and direct practical implementation. This year's practical example is the implementation of a "slope assistant" for an excavator. A grading assistant is a system whose task is to automatically move the excavator shovel over an uneven surface and remove soil in such a way that a level surface is subsequently achieved. For a human operator, this is a very challenging task due to the kinematics of the excavator. In order to initially experience the challenges of excavator guidance and the benefits of assistance functions for themselves, an ifas wheeled excavator is available to the participants. The development of the grading assistant is done in Matlab/Simulink within the exercise units of the Summer School. At the end of the Summer School, the developed grading assistant can be tested in real-life application an ifas compact excavator.

Afternoon sessions August and September
(Depending on the situation digital or in the CIP Pool of ifas)

11.08.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Organisation, Introduction to the subject area(ifas)

18.08.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Construction machinery, construction process, automation systems on construction machinery (ifas)

25.08.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Introduction to Robotics (MMI)

01.09.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Kinematics (MMI)

08.09.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Inverse Kinematics (MMI)

15.09.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Trajectory planning (MMI)

22.09.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Introduction to fluid technology (ifas)

29.09.21 – 14:00 bis 17:30

Hydraulic drives (ifas)

Block course: 04.10.2021 – 08.10.2021
(Expected to be held in the CIP Pool of ifas)

04.10.21 – 9:00 bis 17:00

Hydraulic linear drives

05.10.21 – 9:00 bis 17:00

Feedback control of hydraulic drives

06.10.21 – 9:00 bis 17:00

Sensors and bus systems

07.10.21 – 9:00 bis 17:00

Automation and path planning using the example of the excavator

08.10.21 – 9:00 bis 17:00

Application scenarios and implementation on the excavator



Marvin Huang

Contact person for organizational questions


+49 241 80 28015





Stefan Geffroy

Contact person for questions regarding content


+49 241 80 47741



Participant profile

This Summer School is especially aimed at participants from the fields of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, civil engineering, physics or similar fields. Participants should have completed the basic subjects of their studies as far as possible and have an affinity for automation and practical implementation.

Maximum number of participants: 15


The Summer School will be held on Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the months of August and September (starting on August 11) and during the week of October 4-8 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. all day.

Further information

Organizer: Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Systems and Institute for Human-Machine Interaction

Coordinator: Stefan Geffroy, M.Sc.

Language: German