Spot, the robot construction dog which carries out site inspection, has been given an upgrade by its manufacturer.
Robotics firm Boston Dynamics has partnered with a San Francisco-based software company to produce a new version of Spot, firstly unveiled a year ago.
SpotWalk, which uses software from HoloBuilder and is controlled by the firm’s SpotWalk app, can walk through construction sites autonomously, capturing 360-degree images that record the progress of a construction project over time.
The new technology was unveiled at Autodesk University 2019 this week.
The two firms claimed the new SpotWalk would allow for quality and accuracy control, giving contractors, trade partners and owners a living digital record of the project. The integration creates repeatable, actionable data, addresses all phases of a construction project, and improves productivity.
HoloBuilder’s machine learning engine, SiteAI, analyses images captured by SpotWalk to get unprecedented insight into the jobsite. The project site data combined with the quantifiable analysis enables contractors and owners to report on progress on an ongoing basis.
“Time and accuracy are two things that are very important to a jobsite,” said Andrew Cameron, project manager at US-based contractor Hensel Phelps. “Traditionally, you would have to sacrifice time out of a busy day to harvest jobsite pictures and organise them. This new product removes a time-consuming step while providing accurate construction photos with a high degree of fidelity.”
Airport project test
Hensel Phelps conducted early pilot tests of the SpotWalk app at its $1.2bn San Francisco Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Airport project. The pilot showed that with minimal training on-site the project team can get SpotWalk functioning.
The SpotWalk app has two general modes. The first enables project teams to teach Spot the capture route by driving the robot via an intuitive smartphone interface. The second mode drives Spot autonomously on its trained path, taking pictures along the way at defined capture locations, delivering immediate value to the construction project and workforce.
“The SpotWalk app is a first of its kind integration for Boston Dynamics’ robots,” said Michael Perry, vice president of business development at Boston Dynamics. “Our efforts have been to create a highly mobile robotics platform that can easily navigate unstructured or unknown environments. HoloBuilder’s SpotWalk app takes this a step further by creating an easy-to-use interface that fits seamlessly into construction workflows. We’re excited to see this integration start rolling out to early customers soon.”
“With SpotWalk, we can now enable our customers to capture data much more frequently and more precisely to get an even clearer picture of what the site’s progress is,” added Christian Claus, CMO and head of partnerships at HoloBuilder.
“We are very excited to release SpotWalk and to continue our very positive collaboration with Boston Dynamics to not only support the industry but to also drive digitization and automation forward.”