HKCRC and Housing Bureau Sign MOU on Innovative Construction Technologies
Today (January 16), Hong Kong Center for Construction Robotics (HKCRC) and the Housing Bureau (HB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a strategic partnership. The main objective of this partnership is to collaboratively promote the advancement and modernization of the construction industry. Additionally, the partnership aims to address various challenges such as the need for large-scale housing production, the shortage of construction workers, and the continuous improvement of site safety measures. By leveraging the abundant supply, standardized design, and repetitive nature of public housing projects overseen by the Housing Department (HD), which is the executive branch of the Hong Kong Housing Authority, these projects can serve as a suitable testing ground for trialing new technologies. This will facilitate the testing, refinement, and enhancement of research outcomes before they are introduced to the broader market.
This collaboration will focus on three key areas:
- Smart Tower Cranes: The HD and the HKCRC will collaborate to develop a sophisticated system for tower cranes. Initially, this system will allow operators to remotely control the cranes from ground level or indoor locations, providing a safer and more comfortable working environment. In the next phase, an auxiliary control system with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, such as automatic lifting route planning and obstacle avoidance, will be developed. Ultimately, the aim is to achieve "unmanned" cranes, simplifying and enhancing crane operations.
- Smart Construction Sites: The HKCRC has already developed various types of construction robots, including rebar tying robots and floor grinding robots, to improve efficiency and safety on construction sites. Additionally, high-performance digital equipment such as mobile scanners, intelligent Internet of Things (IoT)-based digital inclinometers, and precast component scanners have reached the practical application stage. These advancements contribute to enhancing project quality and inspection efficiency. By collaborating with the HD, these research findings can be tested and improved upon at public housing sites, which offer ample opportunities for on-site trials due to their abundant supply, standardized design, and repetitive nature. Once these products reach maturity, they can be showcased and promoted to the broader construction industry, thereby fostering the industry's modernization and transformation.
- Smart Estates: This aspect focuses on implementing various smart equipment and innovative technologies, such as cleaning robots and transportation robots, as well as leveraging IoT, AI, and mobile devices to optimize daily estate management. These advancements will enhance the efficiency of frontline staff and improve property management processes.
The MOU was witnessed by Ms Winnie Ho; the Acting Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Ms Lillian Cheong; and the Chairman of the Board of the HKCRC, Dr Kim Shin-cheul, the Permanent Secretary for Housing/Director of Housing, Miss Rosanna Law, signed the MOU with the Associate Director of the HKCRC, Dr Liang Haobo.
About Hong Kong Center for Construction Robotics
Hong Kong Center for Construction Robotics (HKCRC) (https://www.hkcrc.hk/hong-kong-center-construction-robotics-hkcrc), a scientific research and entrepreneurship platform, was established in 2020 by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of California, Berkeley. It is affiliated to the InnoHK project of the Hong Kong government. Led by Professor Li Zexiang, HKCRC gathered the world's top professors, scholars and industrial resources to build an intelligent incubator for the construction industry, and is committed to bringing advanced technologies such as robotics, automation, and AI into the construction industry and promoting the upgrading of the construction industry.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (https://hkust.edu.hk/) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 3rd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2022, and our graduates were ranked 23rd worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2021.