Home » Gilbane to boost presence of autonomous robots with NeXtera partnership

Gilbane to boost presence of autonomous robots with NeXtera partnership

by Liam Turner
A Gilbane-Nextera 'Didge' construction robot

US-based contractor Gilbane has announced it is teaming up with Nextera Robotics to increase the use of autonomous robots in its management of construction.

The joint venture has been formed to develop an artificial intelligence platform that uses a fleet of autonomous mobile robots to track construction progress and provide safety monitoring at sites.

The new platform, named ‘Didge’, provides autonomous ‘eyes-on-site’ by obtaining detailed visual data.

It is intended to create a link to the field between design models, digital twins and plans, while also boosting transparency, monitoring safety, and expediting progress tracking.

The platform is said to be customisable and multi-functional to include capabilities such as 360° video capture and daily laser scanning.

The partnership says the platform will also be able to monitor environmental conditions and enhance security surveillance on project sites.

‘Extremely powerful AI’

Commenting on the partnership, Michael McKelvy, president and CEO of Gilbane Building Company, said: “Our robotics platform is designed to offer a cost-efficient, automated means to make construction sites safer and more efficient.

“We’re always looking at ways to deliver greater value to our clients, and our partnership with Nextera Robotics aims to do just that.

“Throughout our 150-year history, Gilbane has focused on developing innovations that help us to build smarter with the highest levels of safety.”

Lana Graf, CEO and founder of Nextera Robotics, said: “We truly believe that smart and gradual involvement of robotics and AI on all levels of construction, in every process, can improve productivity, increase safety, and promote sustainable operations and a better environmental footprint for the entire industry.

“Nextera Robotics is all about efficiency and sustainability, and our extremely powerful AI and deep-learning powered software and products are built to make a long-awaited shift in construction.

“We as a robotics company are proud to be recognised by an industry leader such as Gilbane, and together we will bring innovative and practical robotics products to the industry.”

Didge robots

Didge robots are fully autonomous and do not need human supervision.

According to the partnership, each robot can drive for up to six hours, after which it parks itself at the nearest base station for recharging.

The robots are using an approach similar to self-driving vehicles in order to navigate through the complex construction site environment.

The Didge robot fleet currently offers wheeled and tread models.

Image: A Gilbane-Nextera ‘Didge’ construction robot. Credit: Gilbane Building Co.

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