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The Robot Making Construction Sites More Efficient

The B1M | 0:59

The Robot Making Construction Sites More Efficient

Tim Gibson

18 February 2020

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MEET the robot that’s patrolling construction sites.

This autonomous rover is using technology similar to that found in Google's driverless cars to scan construction sites and compare their physical state against digital information. 

The result is faster, more accurate progress monitoring, and the avoidance of errors that can lead to costly delays down the road.

Above: The rover coming face-to-face with more conventional construction machinery (image courtesy of Scaled Robotics).

Tired of seeing errors and rework frequently accounting for 20 percent of construction costs, the founders of Barcelona-based start-up Scaled Robotics - which earlier this month secured a €2M seed investment - set out to tackle the problem. 

The autonomous rovers developed by the firm are able to navigate around continually changing construction site environments (it's only stairs they can't handle), fusing the 360 degree images, video and point cloud scan data that they capture to create a detailed picture of their surroundings.

Scaled Robotics' platform then compares that data to the project's digital information, identifying discrepancies between the two.

The rovers capture an array of information on their surroundings, including point cloud data (above), and then compare that with digital information (below) (images courtesy of Scaled Robotics).

The tool can be used for progress monitoring, developing accurate as-built information or for ensuring health and safety compliance - checking that all sections of leading edge protection are correctly fitted, for example.

Scaled Robotics' innovation automates a process that is currently done manually, dramatically reducing the risk of human-error, cutting costs and providing actionable information to project teams in timely way. 

The days of inspecting a site in person before checking the current state against the design and programme information are seemingly coming to an end. 

Above and Below: The rover is able to navigate around obstacles on site (image courtesy of Scaled Robotics).

While workers were initially hesitant, many have come to accept the rovers as just another tool on the construction site. 

Scaled Robotics' system is now being used on a number of construction projects around the world, including in the UK and the Netherlands.

Recent years have seen a number of robotics firms vying for a slice of the construction market, drawn by the sector's low productivity and high labour demands. 

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