Autonomous Robotic Scanning Solution Launched

By Mike Ball / 20 Oct 2021

Trimble autonomous robotic scanning solution

Trimble has released a robotic scanning solution for construction sites based around Boston Dynamics’ Spot four-legged UGV (unmanned ground vehicle). The solution integrates Trimble’s X7 3D laser scanner and FieldLink software to provide a system that can autonomously navigate challenging, dynamic and potentially unsafe environments, and enables a continuous flow of information between the field and the office for consistent, on-going documentation of jobsite progress.

Automated 3D capture of field construction data is performed as 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. The data collection missions can be scheduled to run on a regular and consistent basis for design validation and progress reporting. The advantage of this combination is increased efficiency and real-time, as-built data analysis in the field and in the office.

Laser scans collected using the X7 scanner and the Spot robot can be tied to a jobsite project coordinate system, as well as individual scan stations. The data is collected, and then made into a composite point cloud in real-time on the Trimble tablet controller before leaving the site. 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.

Thai Nguyen, director of Virtual Design and Construction at Hensel Phelps, commented: “The relationship between Trimble and Boston Dynamics is really special. Users don’t have to figure out the integration of the scanner. 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.”

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. This unique integration is simply unprecedented—it’s never been easier to scan a jobsite, and the increased scanning frequency is creating new opportunities in automated project analysis and insight.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact