The reality capture solution will be designed for use on construction sites with Boston Dynamic’s Spot robot.
Scanning the current industrial landscape, covering specific sectors and spaces, automation is one of the major themes that you will find in almost any business. With hiring shortages and growing pressure to streamline efficiency ahead of a possible downturn, automating processes will help companies achieve both of these goals. That said, automation is an umbrella term that can apply to both hardware and software workflows, with some disagreement over how sophisticated a tool is to achieve true automation.
Yet even without clear disagreement, it’s on everyone’s mind, and it was incredibly clear to everyone who attended this year’s Trimble Dimensions event in Las Vegas, which took place the week last. Automation was a clear theme throughout the show, and it wasn’t just a talk from the Trimble team. One of the major announcements made by the construction tool company was around automation, announcing its intention to collaborate with automation specialist Exyn on a proof of concept for a fully autonomous surveying solution specifically for construction sites. of construction.
This collaboration, although only a proof of concept, is potentially very important for the future of the construction industry. At Trimble, there is one of the biggest names in construction technology with a long history of innovation in the space. During this time, although Exyn is not such a big name, it has also worked with the construction industry, and specifically to achieve high level automation in the field. While their products were previously more focused on automating processes for drones, with which they achieved level four autonomy, these drones have carried out reality capture projects on construction sites.
That’s what the two companies are hoping to achieve here with this new collaboration, just with ground robots instead of drones. Concretely, the two parties are working to achieve the same level of autonomy with the Boston Dynamics Spot robot. This proof-of-concept solution will integrate Spot with Exyn’s ExynAI-powered ExynPak and Trimble X7 total station solution for reality capture. The ExynPak is a SLAM-based mapping solution that can be attached to a vehicle or used as a handheld, while ExynAI is the technology that gives their solutions level four autonomy. The X7, on the other hand, is a high-speed 3D laser scanning device from Trimble designed for maximum ease of use without sacrificing accuracy.
Using Spot on construction sites is certainly not a new idea, and Trimble is already integrating its laser scanners with the robot to carry out reality capture projects on these sites. However, at present, some human intervention is required to complete this work. Users will at least need to walk through, with Spot, any area they wish to scan so that the robot can create a map of the area for future walks. Speaking with Geo Week News at the Dimensions event last week, Exyn Field Engineer Curtis Linton explains that the goal of this proof of concept is to skip this step. ExynAI’s level of autonomy should allow Spot to browse any site fully autonomously. This, in turn, both opens up the number of spaces that can reasonably be scanned, as Spot could theoretically enter spaces that humans might not be able to reach, and also saves valuable time for humans working on site.
These types of solutions are going to be essential for construction companies as they look to continue to streamline their efficiency in the face of financial crisis and hiring shortages. Being able to collect accurate and insightful reality capture data using well-established scanners provided by Trimble with high levels of autonomy should allow them to do just that.
Aviad Almagor, Vice President of Technology Innovation at Trimble, said of the potential of this proof of concept, “It can improve operational efficiency and transparency throughout the construction lifecycle while transforming worker safety for the collection of potentially hazardous data. Exyn CEO Nader Elm added, “The industry has been waiting for reliable and robust autonomous technology to transform difficult and dangerous businesses. Exyn’s technology helps open a new frontier in human-robot collaboration. Working with preeminent leaders such as Trimble, we aim to create state-of-the-art, adaptable systems to deal with the complexities of construction and industrial environments.