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November 19, 2019updated 20 Nov 2019 10:41am

Boston Dynamics: Test Drive “Spot” On Your Construction Site

Six-month early adopter programme launches today

By CBR Staff Writer

Robotics firm Boston Dynamics has teamed up with construction software specialist HoloBuilder to test the use of its latest robot, “Spot” on construction sites.

HoloBuilder uses 360° imagery data, computer vision, and artificial intelligence integrations to capture construction site progress. The company says its software is already being used by the majority of the Us’s top 100 general contractors.

With the new partnership, the two say they can equip the vaguely canine robot to walk job sites autonomously, capturing 360° images that record the progress of a construction project over time: “The process allows for quality and accuracy control, giving contractors, trade partners, and owners a living digital record of the project.

Construction firm Hensel Phelps has conducted early pilot tests of the SpotWalk app at its  $1.2 Billion San Francisco Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Airport project: “With minimal training on-site the project team can get SpotWalk functioning”, the firm said.

And they are now looking for more construction firms to adopt “Spot” and provide feedback as they work on refining the offering – which would see the 25kg semi-autonomous robot stalk construction sites to capture imagery of site progress.

“Beginning today, SpotWalk will be available through a six-month early adopter program in which customers will receive two Spot robots, the full HoloBuilder technology suite, and on-site training,” the two said in joint release.

Their “SpotWalk” application has two modes.

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The first enables project teams to teach Spot the capture route simply by driving the robot via an intuitive smartphone interface. The second mode drives Spot autonomously on its trained path, taking pictures at defined capture locations.

Spot (as featured in this Computer Business Review write-up) robot weighs 25 kg. An arm which can grasp objects and open doors is optional and adds additional five kilograms to Spot’s total weight. It can move at a speed of 1.6 m/s. Battery longevity remains an issue: the robot has a run time of just 90 minutes.

Boston Dynamics intends to lease, rather than sell the robots, early statements suggest, and also sees potential for their use on remote oil rigs.

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