Robots finding their way into the construction workflow

On this platform we’ve been kindly given the opportunity to go into certain aspects of the adoption of robots in the construction domain. Here’s why: last year Boston Dynamics, the well-known inventors of Spot the robot dog, and industrial technology company Trimble announced a strategic alliance. It would give Trimble the exclusive opportunity to deliver an integrated and autonomous robotic data collection solution to the construction industry. Over the last year more and more technology is making its way into the construction industry. Robots are expected to play a growing part in the construction process, not just in factories creating prefab building elements, but outside on the construction site.

The solution that is available now combines the iconic Spot robot platform and Trimble GNSS and data collection technologies, and can be applied to routine tasks on a  construction site such as daily site scans, progress monitoring, asset management, and remote support. Spot will be able to provide consistent output and improve efficiency on repeatable tasks, which is what most technology is intended to bring. As an example, allowing the robot to perform scans during the night shift, then delivering scans and pictures to be reviewed by the supervisor in the morning, enables up-to-date as-built data analysis, which helps reduce the amount of rework and helps speed the process along. 

The design of the Boston Dynamics robot makes it ideal for the construction industry. Spot can navigate difficult terrain thanks to its four legs, which enable the machine to climb stairs or operate in the dirt. It has proven to be a great tool for hazardous environments in excavation or building construction, but also in other sectors where worker safety is top priority.

In the standard configuration, the robot is remotely-controlled by use of a tablet (and stereo cameras), and it already offers the ability to program repeatable autonomous missions. But equipped with a Trimble 3D scanner, total station or GNSS receiver it will have the terrain-agnostic capabilities needed in the typically dynamic setting of a construction site, allowing it to navigate obstacles to fulfil a programmed task, with all actions – walking, navigating and scanning – integrated into one workflow. 

2 reacties

  1. Hi,

    It sounds amazing. Can you tell a bit more about how the effeciency is improved on repeatable tasks by Spot. And does Spot play a role in the security of the site as well, since it is making scans at night?

    Thanks. Enjoyed reading your article, Gaby

  2. Thanks for your questions. Instead of having a construction surveyor going around a construction site to do a daily site scan in order to track progress against models by setting up a scanner on multiple locations or flying a drone, Spot could do his rounds at night, undisturbed and not disturbing anyone, and have a full site scan ready for when the crew turns up in the morning.

    Combining Spot with a GNSS module and a X& 3D scanner (which self-levels and auto-calibrates and features infield registration and referencing), would make a near-autonomous, terrain-agnostic solution. It could circumnavigate obstacles to complete its task, so it can walk around unsupervised once it has a programmed route.

    There have been instances where the Spot robot is used for security tasks. That is however not an application that Trimble is pursuing.

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