As we enter the era of Artificial Intelligence and the “Internet of Things” (IoT), the world is fast moving onto new technologies that would bring unimaginable transformation in many industries. In one such recent development, Spot, the Boston Dynamics’ robot dog, was adopted by the world’s leading architecture firm, Foster and Partners, as a construction site inspector. Spot Robot Dog is currently assigned to the Foster and Partners’ Battersea Roof Gardens Project. The development is an extension of the wider development in the area surrounding Battersea Power Station, a defunct power plant undergoing repurpose renovations.
Spot, the Boston Dynamics Robot, is used by the architecture firm in London’s Battersea Roof Gardens Project to test its capability and potential for future projects. So far, the results have been more than positively surprising. Spot Boston Dynamics Robot can be remotely controlled and can be programmed to follow a predefined route on the site. It has been designed and developed by Boston Dynamics in collaboration with the Foster + Partners’ Applied Research and Development Group. The firm specifically designed maps and missions for Spot Boston Dynamics robot dog to gather and collate data from the assigned site.
Spot, the Boston Dynamic Robot Dog, rerun its route on site at weekly intervals. The architecture practice said the data sent back by Spot has been exceptionally helpful in creating a sequence of comparable and consistent data. It is especially due to the robot dog’s ability to trail in rough and hazardous terrain that humans can’t scan accurately. One of the technologies used by Spot Robot Dog is the 3D scanning technology to monitor construction progress by doing precision scans at regular intervals.
It then checks the scan results for any errors while matching it with the already programmed architectural plans. The experts at Foster + Partners said that with the help of data collected by Spot Robot Dog, the processing and scanning time at sites had reduced drastically. It helps with project completion as per the schedule and limits the use of resources, saving time and money considerably.
Spot has been earlier used at a Japanese Construction site, so it is not completely new in the construction business. With its four-legs, it can climb stairs, manoeuvre through rough and patchy terrains and work semi-autonomously or be controlled remotely. On its first day at the site, Spot the Boston Dynamics Robot Dog was warmly welcomed with its own ID card and a lanyard. The Foster and Partners also used Spot Robot Dog to create a “Digital Twin” of its London Campus to compare design and build reality, which would eventually help make architectural changes to the space to improve efficiency.
Martha Tsigkari, one of the Partners at Foster and Partners, said regular scans by Spot Robot Dog allowed the firm to check on the project’s progress. It helped keep up with the timeline and compare consistency against the BIM (Building Information Modelling) Model. With the efficacy of Spot the Boston Dynamics Robot being admired globally in the construction business, it won’t be wrong to say its role at the building sites will only increase with time.
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The below video shows Spot being welcomed into the office and then presented with its own Foster + Partners lanyard and ID card, before accompanying architects around the site and performing a scan.
The information that Spot collects is then sent back to Foster + Partners and used to build and update a “digital twin” model of the project as it is built. The model can be used to compare the design to the built reality.