LAN-based building maintenance and surveillance robot

Albert T.P. So, Wai Lok Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The building and construction industry is the major industry of Hong Kong as in many developed countries around the world. After the commissioning of a high-rise building or a large estate, substantial manpower, both inside the management centre under a standby manner, as well as surveillance for security purposes around the whole building, is required for daily operation to ensure a quality environment for the occupants. If the surveillance job can be done by robots, the efficiency can be highly enhanced, resulting in a great saving of manpower and the improved safety of the management staff as a by-product. Furthermore, if the robot can retrieve commands from the building management system via a local area network (LAN), further savings in manpower can be achieved in terms of first-line fault attendance by human management staff. This paper describes the development of a robot prototype here in Hong Kong, which can handle some daily routine maintenance works and surveillance responsibilities. The hardware structure of the robot and its on-board devices are described. Real-time images captured by a camera on the robot with pan/tilt/zoom functions can be transmitted back to the central management office via a local area network. The interface between the robot and the building automation system (BAS) of the building is discussed. This is the first key achievement of this project with a strong implication on reducing the number of human staff to manage a modern building. Teleoperation of the robot via the Internet or intranet is also possible, which is the second achievement of this project. Finally, the robot can identify its physical position inside the building by a landmark recognition method based on standard CAD drawings, which is the third achievement of this project. The main goal of this paper is not the description of some groundbreaking technology in robotic development. It is mainly intended to convince building designers and managers to incorporate robotic systems when they are managing modern buildings to save manpower and improve efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-627
Number of pages9
JournalAutomation in Construction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002


  • Building automation
  • Construction
  • Local area network
  • Maintenance
  • Management
  • Self-positioning
  • Surveilla nce
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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