by Tiana May
07 Dec 2022
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and construction company, Mace have employed a ‘robotic dog’ to help improve efficiency and safety during the refurbishment of the airport’s cargo tunnel.
‘Spot the Dog’ was developed by Boston Dynamics and is equipped with a Trimble X7 scanner to provide 3D laser scans inside a 1960s cargo tunnel. This tunnel is used to transport luggage and cargo across the airport.
“Heathrow’s vision is to give passengers the best airport experience in the world and, in order to do that, we need great people, and we also need innovation. Dave the Dog has been a fantastic innovation enabling us to perform the tasks that we need to do - using robotics and automation.
“We are really excited to be working with Mace on this trial and we look forward to seeing how we can best deploy this technology across construction projects at Heathrow.”
Mace is refurbishing the tunnel by updating ageing mechanical and electrical services. The project team has chosen to call the new colleague ‘Dave’ after holding a competition to select a name.
The robot dog safely retrieves data from the building site. This data is then used alongside 3D models and augmented reality to track accuracy and progress on the construction work.
This process increases safety by reducing the potential for accidents in hazardous locations. It also improves efficiency, as the robot’s scans are quick and accurate.
Mace is one of the first construction firms to deploy this technology in the UK. If the trial is successful, the company intends to extend its use across other projects.
“The introduction of our new robot colleague, Dave, at Heathrow is a fantastic demonstration of the future of our industry. Robots will never replace people in construction – but this pilot shows how they have the potential to drive greater efficiency, capture records digitally and improve safety and delivery.
“Passengers at Heathrow may never notice the difference – but hopefully they’ll be pleased to know Dave is working round the clock to make sure the airport runs as smoothly as possible in the future.”
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