Assistant Professor Bo Xiao comes to Michigan Tech from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where he worked as a research assistant professor. He earned his BEng in Civil Engineering, at Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology in China, his master’s degree from Concordia University in Canada, and his PhD at the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Xiao and his team conduct research in his Computing and Construction Robotics Lab (CaRC) at Michigan Tech.
What drew you to Michigan Tech?
Michigan Tech’s Tech Forward Initiative attracted me. My long-term career goal is to build autonomous and intelligent systems in the construction industry. I believe Michigan Tech is the place where I can achieve my dream. Houghton is also a place of four-season recreation, with picturesque scenery—all the numerous lakes, forests, and rolling hills. As an outdoor enthusiast, I look forward to trying it all—hiking, fishing, boating, and skiing.
What is your primary area of research and what led you to it?
My primary research goal is to advance the digital transformation of the construction industry by adopting automated technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and digital twinning. Automation, digitalization, and robotics technologies are the key success factor for the fourth construction industry revolution (aka Construction 4.0). I believe it has the potential to enhance the efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and safety of the construction industry, and help solve some of the complex problems surrounding our cities, environment, and the planet.
“Learn outside the classroom.”
Can you share a little more about your research and what you like about it?
Specifically, my research focus is divided among two fields. The first involves using robots to build modular homes. Modular construction offers significant time savings compared to traditional on-site construction methods. Since the building components are fabricated in a controlled factory environment concurrently with site preparation, construction timelines can be significantly reduced. This faster construction process allows for quicker project completion, reduced financing costs, and faster occupancy or utilization of the building. I am developing robots that can build modular components automatically. Robotics allows for the precise and accurate assembly of these components, leading to higher quality and consistency in the final product and better fitting and alignment of modular elements. My second research focus involves vision-based monitoring of construction sites. Construction video footage contains important information about safety, productivity, and site planning. By using computer vision and generative AI to analyze construction sites, efficiency and safety can be improved.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My favorite pastimes are playing basketball and downhill skiing.
Any favorite spots on campus, in Houghton, or in the UP?
Copper Harbor is my favorite!
Any advice for incoming students?
Learn outside the classroom. Classroom learning provides a foundation of knowledge, but real-world experiences will allow you to apply that knowledge in a practical context. You’ll see how concepts and theories translate into real-life situations. This will enhance both your understanding and your problem-solving skills.