Trimble Launches Turnkey Autonomous Robotic Scanning System


 October 19, 2021

Trimble has announced the release of its Trimble X7 3D laser scanner and Trimble FieldLink Software, which fully integrates with Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot. The exclusive turnkey solution from Trimble, jointly developed with Boston Dynamics, creates autonomous operation on construction sites, taking advantage of Spot’s unique capabilities to navigate challenging, dynamic and potentially unsafe environments. The 3D data capture technology enables a continuous flow of information between the field and office for consistent, on-going documentation of job site progress.

The integration is focused on automatically capturing field construction data through the use of Trimble 3D capture technology and the Spot robot. The autonomous workflow for the X7 laser scanner uses fully integrated Spot robot controls in the 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 brings increased efficiency and real-time, as-built data analysis in the field and the office, Trimble said.

“The relationship between Trimble and Boston Dynamics is really special,” said Thai Nguyen, director of virtual design and construction at Hensel Phelps. “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.”

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. Collected data is then made into a composite point cloud in real-time on a 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 for the continuous transfer of data through a Gigabit Ethernet connection to the office.

The solution includes the laser scanner, FieldLink software, a ruggedized tablet controller, and the Spot Enterprise robot with enhanced autonomy features, as well as self-charging docking station for Spot and the laser scanner. The package is available through Trimble and BuildingPoint distribution partners. More details are available here.

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