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Tue July 14 2020

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Robot Spot starts work on Canadian site

30 Jan A robot called Spot has begun a six-month trial working on site for Canadian contractor Pomerleau.

Spot is described by manufacturer Boston Dynamics as a nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors. Pomerleau is believed to be the first general contractor in the world to adopt a Spot robot for site use.

Spot is expected to enhance data collection, quality and safety on site. The fully automated robot will have 360° HD camera attached onto its back. The camera is linked with HoloBuilder, a documentation system that allows comparisons with virtual design and construction software from a remote connection. The photos will then be used to track the project's progress and adherence to budget, schedule and quality standards.

Autonomous tracking systems enable Spot to identify and avoid obstacles and people, pick itself up after a fall, move in any direction and quickly change directions. Pomerleau said that the tracking systems make it the perfect tool to explore confined or dangerous areas – a new way to increase safety for workers.

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The curation, integration and access to accurate site data is seen by Pomerleau as a key enabler of collaboration. “This initiative is in line with Pomerleau's mission of identifying, leveraging, and championing innovation,” said Ian Kirouac, head of transformation at Pomerleau. Our industry is undergoing a profound transformation. We foresee robotics playing a large role in it.”

Pomerleau is the first general contractor to use Spot on its sites. “We are consistently trying out new technologies, tools and ways of working that will ultimately add value to our projects and benefit our clients,” said Pomerleau chief digital officer Eric Lessard. “It's becoming clear that today, we must turn to technology to assist and enhance human potential. Our approach is to try out different technologies – like Spot – to complement and help our workers, and then leverage their talent, skills and expertise for more crucial work.”

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