Spot the Robot Dog Fetches Your Data and Brings Back As-Builts

You might just see this unusual looking dog roaming around construction sites soon. But don’t call the pound just yet. The robotic dog known as Spot is armed with Trimble’s X7 3D laser scanner and Trimble FieldLink software to collect data while navigating challenging, dynamic and potentially unsafe environments.

The full integration of Trimble’s scanner and software with Spot (built by Boston Dynamics) means users don’t have to figure out how to sync all the technology. It comes as a turnkey unit ready to go.

“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,” says Thai Nguyen, director of virtual design and construction at Hensel Phelps. “This allows us to make the best decisions as quickly as possible with the best information.”

The integrated unit allows you to create a predefined path of waypoints for Spot to follow as it collects laser scans like a well-trained pup. The data-collection runs can be scheduled on a regular basis with Spot autonomously covering exactly the same ground for design validation and progress reporting, creating real-time, as-built data analysis in the office and field.

Laser scans can be matched to a jobsite project coordinate system as well as individual scan stations. Once the data are collected, they’re turned into a composite point cloud in real-time on the Trimble tablet controller before leaving the site. Spot’s docking station enables in-field battery charging on both the robot and the X7 3D laser scanner and provides the continuous transfer of data through a Gigabit Ethernet connection to the office.

The complete solution includes the Trimble X7 3D laser scanner, Trimble FieldLink software, a ruggedized tablet controller, and Boston Dynamics’ Spot Enterprise robot with enhanced autonomy features, plus an integrated self-charging docking station for Spot and the laser scanner. The package is available through Trimble and select BuildingPoint distribution partners. 

What makes Spot unique among robots is his ability to “see” and walk over obstacles, climb stairs, dodge people and equipment and navigate rough terrain. That can be your usual jumbled up jobsite, but you can also send Spot and its Trimble scanner off to collect data in confined spaces or places that are hazardous for people.

If Spot looks familiar it’s because we’ve reported on his progress before, including the time when the clever canine was spotted roaming around the Trimble booth at ConExpo 2020. Check out some of our previous coverage in the links below:

Spot the robot ‘dog’ could one day scan jobsites, do layouts and maintain machines if Trimble, Hilti, Boston Dynamics collaboration succeedsHow Spot the Robot Dog Got a Job in Construction | The Dirt #17

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