Automation, Robotics, and Digital Twins in Construction

Faculty in the Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering conduct fundamental research on data science, automation, robotics, sensing, and virtual and augmented reality to evaluate construction practices, methods, and retrofitting solutions, as well as implications for the physical and psychological well-being assessment of those in the construction industry. Their research advances industry construction processes through new approaches for industrialized construction, integrated teams, technology, and environmental stewardship.

Research labs focused on this research area:

Current research in progress includes the following:

(funding bodies in parentheses; Penn State architectural engineering faculty names bolded)

  • Industrialized and robotic construction sites (IRoCS) (National Science Foundation), Robert Leicht, Alan Wagner, Susan Mohammed, Marissa Shuffler, Bryan Franz
  • BIM for infrastructure (Transportation Research Board), John Messner
  • Smart model-centric life cycle approach to collaborative execution of capital projects (Construction Industry Institute), Robert Leicht, John Messner
  • PennDOT Digital Delivery Directive 2025 (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation), John Messner
  • Predictive AI-based digital twin platform for facility maintenance management (Penn State Office of Physical Plant), Houtan Jebelli
  • Socially responsive perceptive robots for seamless human-robot collaboration in construction (start-up funding), Houtan Jebelli, William Sitzabee
  • Wearable sensor based holistic health monitoring of construction workers (start-up funding), Houtan Jebelli
  • Proactive design coordination based on BIM and graph theory (start-up funding), Yuqing Hu, Kamesh Madduri
  • Disaster resilience analysis in socio-technical systems (start-up funding), Yuqing Hu
  • Eye tracking for semantic segmentation of buildings and existing damages (start-up funding), Rebecca Napolitano
  • AI-driven generative redesign of existing buildings (Penn State Stuckeman School), Rebecca Napolitano, Heather Ligler


Globally recognized as a leading architectural engineering department, the mission of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to advance the built environment through the development of world-class architectural engineers and research. The vision of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to lead the world in innovative education and research to achieve high-performing built environments. Our program emphasizes the scientific and engineering aspects of planning, designing, and constructing buildings, providing our architectural engineering graduates with outstanding education and research opportunities. 

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394