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Advancing Construction Robotics: Turnkey Solution from Trimble and Boston Dynamics Now Available

Automated on-site data capture and site monitoring with a robot could be coming to a construction site near you. Trimble and Boston Dynamics’ jointly developed solution that integrates Spot, the agile mobot robot, with Trimble's X7 3D laser scanners and FieldLink software is now available. Through an exclusive agreement with Boston Dynamics, Trimble is the sole integrated solution partner for construction data collection technologies. Trimble FieldLink software enables contractors to operate Spot, the X7 3D laser scanner, GNSS smart antennas, and robotic total stations through one integrated tablet controller to define the robot's missions and perform in-field analysis of data.

“Robots in construction have the potential to enhance field-oriented workflows, reduce the amount of rework, and facilitate on-site tasks,” said Brian Ringley, construction technology manager at Boston Dynamics. “Coupled with Trimble’s solutions, Spot empowers construction teams to automate repetitive and/or hazardous tasks to improve the safety, quality, and speed of projects.”

This turnkey solution, available through Trimble and its distribution partners, streamlines Spot’s operation and enables accurate, scalable and rapid data acquisition. Coupled with Trimble’s construction collaboration platform, which provides a continuous and automated flow of information between the field and office, construction project managers can easily capture and review jobsite progress on an ongoing basis. Through the use of the Trimble X7 scanner attached as a payload to Spot, and FieldLink software to operate the system, laser scans can be tied to a project coordinate system and individual scan stations collected, and then registered into a composite point cloud on the tablet controller in real-time before leaving the site.

“The Spot robot, equipped with the X7, opens a promising future for point cloud acquisition for the construction and mining industry. By removing the human from harm's way and letting them control the robot from a safe distance, we can increase the rate of data acquisition and decrease downtime reserved for that. By introducing Spot+X7 into our mining and construction projects, ACCIONA incorporates the latest technological advances into these projects and into the generation of new businesses, while bringing technology closer to markets and customers to drive sustainable development together,” said Carlos Crespo, Robotics & AI Manager at ACCIONA.

Users can teach Spot to navigate a mission and use the Trimble FieldLink software to autonomously capture scan data with the X7 scanner. Once a route is defined, Spot can perform daily missions with the X7 scanner following a predefined path of waypoints to automatically collect laser scans and perform in-field registration and analysis through the FieldLink software. FieldLink also supports the use of Spot Dock, Spot’s self-charging station from Boston Dynamics that also enables quick offload of bulk data over a gigabit Ethernet connection.

“The integration of autonomous robots into construction workflows gives construction teams the ability to perform more frequent construction progress monitoring to lower overall construction risk, improve production and quality, and enhance job site safety,” said David Burczyk, construction robotics lead at Trimble. “We are excited to work with Boston Dynamics to bring these new products and services to market and to play a strategic role in advancing the use of robotics in construction.”