Being waterproof, Spot has no problem inspecting jobsites even through downpours.
HoloBuilder and robotics company Boston Dynamics have announced a partnership aimed at actively illustrating the effectiveness of robots as jobsite inspectors.
Robots are not totally alien to remodeling, but we tend to think of them more in terms of production. Bricklaying bots, for instance, like the SAM100, have been in use for years, and in 2018 Japan’s Institute of Advanced Industrial Science Technology introduced HRP-5P, a bot which seems to be able to install drywall.
This new bot is different.
Utilizing Spot, an almost dog-like robot developed by Boston Dynamics, complete with 360-degree stereo-camera vision, a durable build (with an IP54 ingress rating), and four jointed legs, HoloBuilder and Spot’s manufacturer have created the app SpotWalk. Its purpose is to provide intelligent, organized jobsite monitoring so that employees don’t have to.
“Our efforts have been to create a highly mobile robotics platform that can easily navigate unstructured or unknown environments,” said Michael Perry, head of business development for Boston Dynamics, in a statement. “HoloBuilder’s SpotWalk app takes this a step further by creating an easy-to-use interface that fits seamlessly into construction workflows.”
Testing the app’s efectiveness is construction company Hensel Phelps, which is using Spot and the accompanying app to inspect its $1.2-billion San Francisco Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Airport project. In a video HoloBuilder made documenting the pilot program, Andrew Cameron, project manager with Hensel Phelps, says regarding SpotWalk, “A project team is afforded daily construction photos harvested accurately and ... in the same exact location, with a high degree of fidelity, without having to occupy or offset any of the staff’s time.” In other words, a manager can receive daily photo updates organized by exact location on the site.
While it’s much easier today to imagine Spot inspecting a large commercial site, as robotics and the technology Spot uses become more widely available, the applications for remodelers, especially remodelers with multiple jobsites, are not so tough to see. Already remodelers are using drones to more efficiently inspect sites. Why should using SpotWalk be so different? The answer is, “It’s not.”