Boston’s robot dog gets laser scanner and software upgrade

by Sion Geschwindt
Trimble has integrated 3D data capture tech with Boston Dynamic's robot dog, Spot, for hands-free data collection on site

Trimble has integrated its X7 3D laser scanner and FieldLink software with Boston Dynamics‘ robot dog, Spot, for hands-free data collection on construction sites.

The autonomous workflow for the X7 laser scanner uses fully integrated Spot robot controls in FieldLink software to create a predefined path of waypoints for Spot to follow and collect laser scans.

Once the data is collected, it is made into a composite point cloud in real-time on the Trimble tablet controller before leaving the site.

Laser scans can then be tied to a jobsite project coordinate system, as well as individual scan stations.

While performing autonomous operations, Spot’s docking station enables the in-field charging of batteries on both the robot and the X7 3D laser scanner, and also provides the continuous transfer of data through a gigabit ethernet connection to the office.

The data collection missions can be scheduled to run on a regular and consistent basis for design validation and progress reporting.

Brian Ringley, construction product manager at Boston Dynamics, said: “Our construction customers require turnkey solutions for autonomous jobsite documentation and analysis.

“Boston Dynamics’ strategic alliance with Trimble has allowed us to build that solution collaboratively by combining our strengths in robotics and construction, respectively.

“It’s never been easier to scan a jobsite, and the increased scanning frequency is creating new opportunities in automated project analysis and insight.”

Thai Nguyen, director of virtual design and construction at top 20 US contractor Hensel Phelps, said: “The relationship between Trimble and Boston Dynamics is really special.

“Users don’t have to figure out the integration of the scanner, and it also enables us to work with only one vendor.

“Using the X7 integrated with Spot lets us document changes on the jobsite and make important decisions in the field, rather than waiting hours or potentially days for the information to be relayed to our project staff.

“This allows us to make the best decisions as quickly as possible with the best information.”

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Mathias Weil


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